For the first in the history of independent India, the Election Commission on Wednesday invoked Article 324 of Constitution to cut short the election campaign in West Bengal. The silent period in Bengal will not begin at 10 pm on Thursday.
The Congress party on Thursday slammed the Election Commission of India over its latest order to cut short election campaign in West Bengal for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls. Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the EC’s decision a gift to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that while EC’s decision will have no bearing on the schedule of PM Modi’s rallies, it will affect the election programmes of opposition leaders.
On Thursday, while PM Modi will address two election rallies in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee will hold public meetings. Mamata was earlier slated to hold two rallies on Thursday and two on Friday but she had to preponed it due to the EC’s latest order.
“This appears to be EC’s parting gift to Prime Minister Narendra Mod and BJP in order to ensure that the two pre-announced election rallies of Modi at Mathurapur and Dum Dum today are not hit by the order,” Surjewala said. Terming EC’s decision on West Bengal as a dark spot on India’s democracy, Surjewala said that the Election Commission has admitted its inability to hold free and fair polls. He also asked if the EC takes orders from the BJP office rather than from the mandate of the Constitution.
“The order of the Election Commission is unpardonable of the Constitution. Every citizen is questioning the independence, impartiality, objectivity and fairness of the Election Commission today,” he said. ”We are deeply saddened to say that ECI has completely lost its independence and abdicated its Constitutional integrity,” Surjewala added.
He also lashed out at the poll body for giving clean chit to PM Modi in all cases of poll code violation. Surjewala said that the Model Code of Conduct has now become ‘Modi Code of Misconduct’. “Election Commission has become a toothless commission under PM Modi and Amit Shah. There has been no action taken against NaMo TV,” the Congress leader said.
He noted that the Congress filed over 11 cases of poll code violation against Modi and Amit Shah and despite clear dissent in EC’s ranks, it surrendered to whims of Modi and Shah. “Has the MCC now become ‘Modi Code of Misconduct’ to be applied to BJP’s political opponents with total immunity for Modi and BJP president?” he asked.
For the first in the history of independent India, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday evening invoked Article 324 of Constitution to cut short the election campaign in West Bengal by 20 hours. The silent period in Bengal will not begin at 10 pm on Thursday. The campaigning was earlier slated to end at 5 pm on Friday. Polling across 59 parliamentary seats including nine in West Bengal will be held on Sunday.