In historic decision EC cuts Bengal campaigning by 19 hours...Action after violence during Amit Shah roadshow

New Delhi, May 15: In an unprecedented decision, the Election Commission on Wednesday curtailed campaigning in Bengal for sixth phase by 19 hours. The campaigning for the final round of the Lok Sabha polls on Sunday will now halt in West Bengal at 10 pm on Thursday.

The campaigning would have originally ended at 5 p.m. on Friday -- as it would do in the rest of the country which will see voting on Sunday.

The EC decision follows the violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata during BJP President Amit Shah's road show. The two parties have traded charges of inciting the violence during BJP president during the road show.During the violence, a bust of Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised.

The Election Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to curtail the campaigning for the last phase of the election on May 19.

"This is probably the first time that ECI has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner," the Election Commission said in a media briefing.

"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 added.

The EC  also removed ADG CID Rajiv Kumarand attached him to MHA.  Principal Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya was also shifted  for "interfering in process of conducting polls by directing West Bengal Chief Election Officer".

Earlier, PM Narendra Modi accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of orchestrating the attack on BJP President Amit Shah during his roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that attempts were being made to terrorise and intimidate the saffron party activists.

Addressing an election rally here in the Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency, Modi said the attack on Shah's roadshow in College Street came days after Banerjee vowed to take revenge against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"Mamata 'didi' had publicly announced two days ago that she will take revenge inch by inch against the BJP. Within 24 hours of her announcement, she orchestrated the attack on BJP President Amit Shah during his roadshow. There were attempts to terrorise and intimidate the BJP supporters," he alleged.

Modi also said that Banerjee was scared by the BJP wave in West Bengal.

News24Bureau/ Agencies

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