Voting for nine constituencies in Bengal in the last phase of Lok Sabha elelctions is scheduled for May 19, Sunday, and ahead of it the Election Commission has exercised Article 324 of the Constitution for the first time to cut short campaign, which will end on Thursday at 10 pm.
Bharatiya Janata Party has hailed the decision while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it is undemocratic, unethical, unconstitutional and biased, an insult to people of Bengal.
Until now the Article 324 had been used for cancellation or postponement of election or else in penalizing individual candidates.
The polling body has also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID.
Mamata Banerjee said, “Tomorrow, Modi has two meetings in Bengal. When he finishes, the campaigning also ends… Instead of punishing Amit Shah, the Election Commission has given a gift to the BJP.”
EC’s decision came amid a political fight between BJP and Bengal CM that escalated over vandalizing of a statue of iconic 19th-century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted: “A constitutional authority, the Election Commission of India, has effectively held Bengal to be a state in Anarchy. Repeatedly escalating violence, state-supported Vandals, partisan police and home department are the illustrations the ECI has given.”