EC Curtails WB Campaigning, Removes Officials After Poll Violence
TMC and BJP supporters clashed during Amit Shah’s roadshow at Kolkata on Wednesday
TMC and BJP supporters clashed during Amit Shah’s roadshow at Kolkata on Wednesday(Photo: PTI)

EC Curtails WB Campaigning, Removes Officials After Poll Violence

In view of the violence during BJP President Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata on Wednesday, 14 May, the Election Commission, in an unprecedented decision, invoked Article 324 to cut short poll campaigning in West Bengal by a day.

Two top government officials have also been relieved of their duties by the poll panel.

The election campaigning in the nine seats of the state, which go to polls in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections on 19 May, will have to be concluded by 10 pm on Friday. Under normal circumstances, the campaigning was allowed till 10 pm on Saturday.

The EC also said the Principal Secretary,Home & Health Affairs of the state government , Atri Bhattacharya, has been relieved from charge with immediate effect for having “interfered in process of conducting polls by directing WB CEO".

Apart from the Principal Secretary, the Additional Director General of the CID Rajiv Kumar has also been relieved.

Also Read : Mamata to Address Media After EC Curtails WB Poll Campaigning

The EC also expressed its dissatisfaction on Wednesday’s violence. “The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration,” it said.

The Commission also said that it is probably the first time that it has invoked Article 324 in this manner, stressing however that it may not be last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner, news agency ANI reported.

Article 324 grants wide plenary powers to the Election Commission for “superintendence, direction and control” of the conduct of elections. This allows the EC to pass any orders required to ensure free and fair elections, which technically covers law and order issues as well.

Also Read : Whodunnit Over Vidyasagar Statue Vandalism: BJP, TMC Share ‘Proof’

The constituencies where campaigning has been curtailed are -- Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar.

The order on curtailment of the campaigning was signed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and fellow commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, reported news agency PTI.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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