Eight major political partes had planned at least 16 events in West Bengal for Friday, 17 May, the day when campaigning was to actually end in the state for the May 19 Lok Sabha elections.On Wednesday, the Election Commission had ordered campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 pm on Thursday, a day before its scheduled deadline, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata.The Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, CPI(M), CPI, Bahujan Samaj Party, All-India Forward Block and the Revolutionary Socialist Front had planned a total of 16 events for Friday, according to available data.An SIT has been set up by Kolkata Police Into Vandalism at Vidyasagar CollegeMeanwhile, PM Modi has said he will rebuild Vidyasagar’s statueThe EC has been questioned by the opposition after campaigning was cut short in West Bengal by 24 hoursMamata Banerjee had hit the streets to protest against the violence in BJP President Amit Shah’s rallyViolence broke out in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s roadshow as BJP and TMC workers clashed(The Quint will no longer be on WhatsApp, owing to changes in its policies regarding news publishers. You can now get the latest news updates on our Telegram channel. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram.)BJP President Amit Shah has rebutted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's charge that he is an "outsider" in West Bengal and said he has come to the state to campaign for his party.Shah wondered if he is called an outsider for coming to West Bengal, "which is very much a part of India", then why not Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee be labelled as an "outsider" when she visits New Delhi?The BJP leader was addressing a meet of intellectuals in the city on Tuesday, 14 May."I am president of a national party and I am here to campaign for my party."I am being called an outsider for coming to West Bengal. What kind of statement is this? If a person from West Bengal goes to Mumbai or Bengaluru, will he be called an outsider? When Mamata didi goes to Delhi will she be called an outsider?" Shah asked.Shah's remarks came following Banerjee's repeated allegations about Shah being an "outsider" who comes to the state to "create division" among the people.The BJP supporters will hold protests at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, while the TMC supporters led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be protesting in Kolkata on Wednesday, 15 May.Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on BJP President Amit Shah asking if he were a god that no one can protest against him.Meanwhile, a BJP delegation led by Mukul Roy will meet the governor at 11:30 am on Wednesday.BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday, 15 May alleged that TMC workers vandalised statue of Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to gain sympathy and create unrest in his rally.“Had CRPF not been there, it would have been really difficult for me to escape. BJP workers were beaten up, TMC can go to any extent. I was lucky to have escaped,” he said.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several top TMC leaders have changed their Facebook and Twitter display picture (DP) with photo of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on Wednesday to protest the desecration of the bust of the noted reformer and key figure of the Bengal Renaissance.Trinamool Congress's official profile on Twitter and Facebook was also changed with a picture of Vidyasagar.BJP holds protest against violence in BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday. Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, Jitendra Singh and Vijay Goel are present.Left parties hold protests against the destruction of the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in Kolkata.Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, along with BJP supporters held protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.PM Modi, in a conversation with CNN-News18, slammed Mamata Banerjee and the TMC for violence in the rally of BJP party President Amit Shah on Tuesday and questioned why the people who talk of democracy and call themselves ‘neutral’ silent on the matter.TMC's student wing protests against the vandalisation of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue during clashes in BJP Chief Amit Shah's roadshow in the city .TMC leader Derek O’Brien briefed the media over the violence that broke out in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s rally and alleged that the Central forces are in cahoots with the BJP in Bengal.“Anybody can come and do a procession, but what were the outsiders...Who is this fellow Tejinder Bagga? Who is he? He was arrested, is he not the same guy who slapped somebody in Delhi? You have taken in your outsider goons ,” said O’Brien.“ We have two more pictures to show, this is to do with the elections, we have nothing personally against the Central forces, we have two startling pictures to expose what we have been saying that the Central forces are in cahoots with the BJP in Bengal,” he said.O’Brien also showed a video claiming "BJP goons" damaged statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. “Video not only clearly establishes what the BJP did, but proves party chief Amit Shah is a liar,” he said.O’Brien also said that the TMC was trying to authenticate audio of slogans like 'Vidyasagar finished, where is the Josh' allegedly raised during the violence. He also showed a video, WhatsApp message asking people to come to Amit Shah's roadshow with rods and arms to fight the TMC and police.Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga of the BJP, who was detained for allegedly being a part of the mob that incited violence in Kolkata on Tuesday challenged the TMC to prove he was anywhere at the scene.“Nobody takes Derek O Brien seriously. I challenge him if he can prove that I was within 500 metres of the spot where violence broke out. I will leave politics if I am proved wrong or else he should leave politics if he fails to prove the charge,” he said.Security has been beefed up as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to hold a padyatra from Gandhi Bhavan in Beleghata right up to Shyambazaar.The TMC has put up placards that have a picture of the vandalised Vidyasagar statue along with the words "Chhi! Chhi! (Shame! Shame!) printed next to it.PM Modi, while addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Basirhat, said that Mamata Banerjee got Amit Shah’s rally attacked ‘to get revenge’.“Mamata didi had declared publicly two days ago that she will take revenge. She fulfilled her agenda within 24 hours, BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow was attacked,” he said.“Didi (Mamata) will lose in West Bengal, and knows this. Hence she is angry and is unleashing violence,” he said.The TMC delegation, lead by Derek O’Brien, arrives at the Election Commission’s Office in Delhi to ‘submit proof’ that BJP ‘goons’ were the ones who vandalised the bust of Vidyasagar in a college.West Bengal Mamata Banerjee arrived at the venue of the padyatra in Kolkata to protest against the violence that took place in BJP President Amit Shah’s rally on Tuesday, leading to vandals destroying the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, Muqtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Goel, Anil Baluni, GVL Narsimha Rao, and Rakesh Sinha to meet Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu at his residence over clashes during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, ANI reported quoting sources.Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday slammed the West Bengal government over the attack on BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, describing the incident as "unfortunate" for the country's democracy.Talking to reporters, Raut, who is the Rajya Sabha MP, said there can be no restrictions on anyone to campaign anywhere the country."West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not want Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in Bengal. Did anyone stop Mamata from campaigning in Gujarat?" Raut asked.BJP chief Amit Shah blamed West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress for violence during his roadshow in Kolkata and accused the Election Commission of "double standards" for remaining a "mute spectator" to rigging and violation of the poll code in the state."I want to tell the Election Commission that it has become a mute spectator to attempts to rig polls in West Bengal. It should immediately intervene. History-sheeters...are arrested during elections across the country. In Bengal, they are released after furnishing a bond. What is this double standards from the EC? Why is it silent," he asked.Accusing the BJP-RSS of systematically attacking Bengal and its ethos, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the saffron party was opposed to the very ideas propagated by social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, whose statue was desecrated in the violence during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata."Not about just a statue, but a systematic attack on Bengal. One of the biggest symbols of the Bengal renaissance is what BJP-RSS have attacked. These obscurantists have always opposed Vidyasagar's ideas. But Bengal will not succumb," Yechury tweeted.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accused TMC of breaking the bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and said his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee is trying to divert attention by spreading canards against BJP."We condemn the incident that happened yesterday. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was one of greatest sons of India and a social reformer. It was the TMC which broke his bust and it now blaming BJP to divert the attention," Adityanath said at a press conferenceUnion Minister Prakash Javadekar , after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said that a delegation of Union Ministers has submitted a memorandum to Naidu over clashes in West Bengal.“Protection of Rajya Sabha members is responsibility of house and Chairman. We've submitted a memorandum to VP on it and demanded that a report be sought and appropriate action be taken,” he said.In view of recent violence in West Bengal, the Election Commission has cut short poll campaigning in West Bengal by 24 hours.Campaigning will now end at 10 pm on Thursday, 16 May, instead of 17 May, as per normal schedule. Addressing the media, the EC said that this is the first time the commission has invoked Article 324 in this manner.It further said that the EC 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 added.A day before the scheduled deadline, the Election Commission said the ADG CID, Rajeev Kumar "stands relieved" and report to Ministry of Home Affairs.The EC also removed IAS officer Atri Bhattacharya from the post of Principal Secretary (Home) from "having interfered in the process of conducting the election".It also said the Chief Secretary will look after Home Department.Addressing the media after EC’s decision to curtail poll campaigning in West Bengal, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the poll panel is working under BJP’s instructions.Accusing the EC of being biased, Mamata said that if the campaigning had to be cut short, why didn’t the poll panel end campaigning today itself. “They are allowing campaigning on Thursday as Modi is supposed to hold two meetings tomorrow,” she said.Lashing out at the BJP for inciting violence in the state, the West Bengal CM said that the sort of rioting BJP resorted to on Wednesday, was not witnessed even after Babri mosque demolition.Mamata took a jibe at the Election Commission saying that Election Commission has rewarded BJP and Amit Shah for desecrating Vidyasagar’s bust.Replying to a question at the press conference, Mamata Banerjee said that the people of West Bengal will fight the battle against BJP boldly.West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Wednesday condemned the vandalising of the Vidyasagar statue and said the culprits should be traced and punished.Tripathi is also the chancellor of the Calcutta University to which the Vidyasagar College is affiliated.“As the chancellor of Calcutta University, I am greatly pained at the vandalising of Vidyasagar statue. The real culprit for breaking the statue must be traced out and suitably punished,” he said in a statement.He said a new bust of the great social reformer of Bengal should immediately be installed and the Calcutta University should take initiative to it.Questioning the Election Commission's decision to end campaigning in West Bengal from 10 pm on Thursday, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury asked if the poll body had set the time to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address two rallies in the state in the afternoon."If a ban is intended for 72 hours, why is it starting at 10 pm tomorrow? Is it to allow the two rallies of the PM before that?" Yechury tweeted shortly after the EC's announcement.Modi is scheduled to address rallies in Laxmikantapur and Dum Dum in West Bengal."The decision by the EC to stop campaigning a day in advance is not understood. The first thing being expected by EC was action against the lumpen elements of BJP and TMC for violence yesterday. Why has no action been initiated?" the CPI(M) leader asked.BJP's Chhattisgarh unit on Wednesday took out a 'peace march' in Raipur to protest against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Large number of BJP leaders and workers, wearing black bands, took part in the peace rally commenced from the party's capital office 'Ekatma Parisar' and culminated at the Town Hall, PTI reported.Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Wednesday condemned the vandalisation of a bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, saying it is a politically motivated step ahead of elections."It is a politically motivated move to break the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. We condemn such an incident," Pilot said at a rally, PTI reported.Asserting that there is a "wave of change" across the country, Pilot said the BJP's "desperate" bid to "polarise" voters by raising emotive issues will not pay any dividend.Late on Wednesday evening, BJP leader and ex-TMC leader Mukul Roy addressed a press conference in Kolkata, saying that the Election Commission takes specific decisions in specific instances of poll complaints. The EC's decision this time will hurt us the most, but the party will not question the poll body's decision, Roy said.“I have no opinion about what decision the EC has taken, it is their own decision. They have done what they think is right. We have also lost time to campaign because of their decision. Why is she so scared?”Calling it a criminal conspiracy against Amit Shah and BJP, he also said that the BJP was not involved in the vandalism of Vidyasagar’s bust. “Vidyasagar belongs to the whole country, don't own him as just West Bengal's. He belongs to India and he is respected by everyone in the country. BJP has no hand in vandalising Vidyasagar's bust. This is a criminal conspiracy against Amit Shah and BJP,” he said.Roy also said that Mamata had lied about one of the men who had apparently been injured in the clashes by the name of Tirtha Pratim Shah. He claimed that Pratim had not broken his arm in the clashes as claimed by Mamata, but had injured it three days prior to the incident. He accused Mamata of bringing him to the press conference to “add drama”.The Congress came down heavily on the Election Commission on Wednesday after its decision to cut short the campaign period in West Bengal, saying it has been a "shameful fall for a once-independent constitutional body".Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the use of Article 324 by the EC is an "unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution" as the poll body has failed to maintain a level-playing field.He alleged that the poll panel had failed to act on his party's complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Slamming the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, Home Minster Rajnath Singh said that the chief minister was misusing the state machinery to stifle democratic rights of the people.“These attempts at intimidating the leaders and workers of a political party will fail miserably,” he tweeted.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold two public meetings (jansabhas) in Mathurapur – right before PM Modi’s rally – and Diamond Harbour.Then, later in the day, she will also lead two padyatras (marches) in Kolkata, ahead of the EC’s campaign ban in West Bengal – from 10 pm on Thursday.The Congress party addressed a press conference on Thursday, 16 May, slamming the EC’s decision to impose a campaign ban in West Bengal.Addressing the media, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also questioned the poll body’s decision to impose the ban from 10 pm on Thursday, thereby allowing PM Modi to hold two additional rallies in the state.“People are the final masters in the country, and when all else fails, democracy prevails in this country,” Surjewala said.Controversial IPS officer Rajeev Kumar missed his 10 am reporting time for new duty in the Home Ministry on Thursday as ordered by the Election Commission (EC) which relieved him from his post of ADG CID in West Bengal following violence in Kolkata.Home Ministry sources said Kumar neither joined nor gave any information.Kumar, the former Kolkata Police Commissioner, has earlier been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.(Source: IANS)Speaking at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau, Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed TMC workers for the ‘hooliganism’ at Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, further ensuring that he will install his grand statue at the same spot soom.“We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, they vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar’s vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot.”Prime Minister Narendra ModiA BJP delegation comprising of leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Prakash Javadekar among others will meet the Election Commission on Thursday, 16 May over the violence at Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata on Tuesday, 14 May, according to CNN News18.A BJP delegation led by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar met with the EC over the West Bengal violence, saying that the EC’s decision to cut short the campaigning by a day is not enough, News18 reported.Further, the BJP delegation listed out its demands to the EC before the state capital goes to poll on Sunday, 19 May.Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the TMC goons, who are trying to hinder the electoral procedure in the state should be arrested and central forces should be deployed in the West Bengal capital ahead of polling.“We think that the EC decision to cut short the poll campaigning timeline is a small punishment for a history sheeter.”Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP Leader“We demand a violence-free election. We want the voters to cast their vote without fear. Bigger steps need to be taken,” Naqvi told reporters after the meeting.Union Minister Prakash Javadekar demanded that a probe should be launched into West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for calling PM Modi and Amit Shah goons.“This is violation of many moral codes. We have demanded that these goons should be sent to preventive detention before the day of polling.”Prakash Javadekar, Union MinisterJavadear also alleged that the Police in West Bengal is indulging in hindering the electoral process in the state.Naqvi also said that the 400 Quick Response Teams (QPT) should be put to use ahead and on the day of polling in Kolkata.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, 16 May thanked the leaders of opposition parties, who came out in her support as she protested against the Election Commission's decision to cut short the poll campaign duration in the state. “Thanks and gratitude to @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @INCIndia, @ncbn and others for expressing solidarity and support to us and the people of #Bengal. EC’s biased actions under the directions of the #BJP are a direct attack on democracy. People will give a befitting reply.”Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West BengalThe poll panel on Wednesday, 15 May cut short campaigning for the last round of voting in West Bengal, in the wake of violence between the BJP and the TMC workers in Kolkata.Rallying behind Mamata Banerjee, BSP supremo Mayawati on Thursday, 16 May accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah of targeting the West Bengal chief minister as part of a conspiracy and said it reflected a "dangerous attitude".A day after the Election Commission curtailed campaigning in West Bengal, Mayawati charged that the poll body acted under pressure of the central government.Addressing a press conference in Lucknow, she said, "Everyday we are getting some kind of news from Bengal for which the BJP and RSS are responsible."“As far as election-related violence is concerned there, it can be seen clearly that BJP and the government led by PM Narendra Modi and his chela (follower) BJP President Amit Shah, under a planned conspiracy, have been targeting the Mamata Banerjee government.” Mayawati, President, BSP"During Lok Sabha elections, Mamata Banerjee and her government are being targeted under a conspiracy to divert peoples attention from failures of the Modi government," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister charged. “Such a conspiracy to defame Mamata Banerjee and her government is unbecoming of a PM.”MayawatiComing down hard on the poll body, she said, "It is unfortunate that the Election Commission acted under pressure of the Centre in curtailing electioneering in West Bengal while the PM could address two rallies today".It is now clear that under the present Chief Election Commissioner, Lok Sabha elections are not being held in a free and fair manner, Mayawati charged.The Special Protection Group (SPG), responsible for the security of the Prime Minister has written to the West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) ahead of PM Modi’s rally in the state on Thursday, 16 May, CNN News18 reported.The letter comes amid security concerns as BJP President Amit Shah’s Kolkata rally was met with violence on Tuesday, 14 May.Amid all the uproar in her state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a public rally in the North 24 Parganas district. During the address, Mamata responded to PM Modi’s promise to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue, calling the Election Commission a brother of the BJP.“Last night we came to know that BJP had filed a complaint with EC so that we can’t hold any meeting after Narendra Modi’s meeting. EC is brother of BJP, earlier it was an impartial body now everyone in the country says EC has sold out to BJP.”Further, Mamata Banerjee also responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer to rebuild the Vidyasagar Statue that was destroyed amid the violence that stemmed from BJP President Amit Shah’s Rally on Tuesday, 14 May.“Modi said he will rebuild Vidyasagar statue. Why should we take their money, Bengal has enough. BJP destroyed 200-year-old heritage of West Bengal, those supporting the party will not be accepted by society.”Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West BengalAndhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has termed as 'disturbing' the Election Commission's action cutting short the election campaign in West Bengal by a day and has said that the poll panel's integrity is at stake.The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief said it was disturbing to see prompt action by the EC on a complaint by the BJP and its President Amit Shah in West Bengal while conveniently ignoring the complaints of the Trinamool Congress.National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also stepped in on the West Bengal elections issue, saying that the BJP is teaming up with the Elections Commission and is running a campaign to polarise the electorate.He further said that none of this will matter as on 23 May, Mamata will sweep West Bengal when the results are out.The Election Commission has, in a rather surprising development has transferred the Additional Director General of the West Bengal Police CID to the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, accusing ADG of interfering with the polling procedure.Speaking at arally in Diamond Harbour in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee slammed PM Modi saying that he couldn’t build Ram Temple in five years but now wants to build Vidyadagar’s bust, reported ANI.Additional Director General of the CID in West Bengal Rajiv Kumar, who was formerly the Commissioner of Police of Kolkata, has failed to report at the Home Ministry, NDTV reported.On Wednesday, he was relieved of his post by the EC and asked to report to the Home Ministry on Thursday morning.With poll campaigning in West Bengal curtailed by a day, Mamata Banerjee is holding yet another roadshow in Kolkata on Thursday.Speaking on the sidelines of a public meeting, West Bengal CM attacked the Election Commission yet again. “We had a meeting y'day, why was it cancelled? Can only the PM hold a meeting? Don't we have any rights in democracy? They (EC) curtailed our campaign 24 hours ago, now we have to adjust our meetings,” she said, reported news agency ANI.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday criticised the Election Commssion, calling it ‘biased’.“They allowed Modi ji's rallies and ended campaigning after it, it makes it clear that Election Commission is totally biased. It is very dangerous for the country,” he said.Blaming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the violence during Amit Shah's road show in Kolkata, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said the BJP president was not God but Banerjee was "no saint" either, reported news agency PTI.It said Banerjee did not give permission for the BJP leaders' choppers to land in her state which started the conflict between the saffron party and her Trinamool Congress (TMC).Speaking at Mathurapur in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the TMC of removing evidence of the Kolkata clash.“TMC goons spread violence, they vandalised statue of Vidyasagar. CCTV cameras were installed there. The way the state government erased evidences of Narada and Sarada scam, it is trying to remove evidence in the incident. I demand a strict action should be taken,” he said.A delegation of the Opposition parties met the EC over ending election campaign in West Bengal 24 hours early, reported news agency ANI.Following the meeting, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress said: "We did not receive a satisfactory response from the Election Commission."Mithun Kumar Dey, SDPO of Diamond Harbour and Kaushik Das, Office In-Charge Amherst Street has been relieved with immediate effect, reported news agency ANI. Both the officers will not be given any election related posts.The Kolkata Police constitutes Special Investigation Team (SIT) for investigation into the vandalism of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue at Vidyasagar College in Kolkata on 14 May.Vehicles of BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Dum Dum, Samik Bhattacharya and party leader Mukul Roy were attacked by unidentified people in Nagerbazar area of the constituency on Thursday night. Bhattacharya and Roy were not present in the vehicles at the time of the incident.Eight major political partes had planned at least 16 events in West Bengal for Friday, the day when campaigning was to actually end in the state for the May 19 Lok Sabha elections.On Wednesday, the Election Commission had ordered campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 pm on Thursday, a day before its scheduled deadline, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata.The Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, CPI(M), CPI, Bahujan Samaj Party, All-India Forward Block and the Revolutionary Socialist Front had planned a total of 16 events for Friday, according to available data.These events included processions and meetings.