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.
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.
On Thursday, The Trinamool Congress, Congress, BJP, BSP, CPI and the CPI(M) had sought permission from poll authorities in West Bengal to hold at least 20 campaigning events, including processions, meetings and ‘street corner’ meets. Citing planned events, sources in the commission had on Thursday said that the poll panel took a “judicious” decision to ban campaigning in West Bengal from Thursday night, and not morning, as it was against abruptly taking away the right of the political parties to seek votes, but at the same time, wanted the violence to end ahead of the May 19 polls.
The commission has come under attack from political parties for not curtailing campaigning in the nine Lok Sabha seats in the state from Thursday morning. The opposition alleged that it was done to accommodate the rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the state.
The campaigning in West Bengal ended at 10.00 pm Thursday. It was otherwise scheduled to end on Friday at 6.00 pm.
The EC’s action on Wednesday came a day after parts of Kolkata witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s massive roadshow in the city. A bust of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was also vandalised during the violence. The constituencies where campaigning has been curtailed are — Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar.