'Modi Code of Misconduct': Opposition on EC's WB campaign ban
After the Election Commission (EC) cut short the campaigning period for the last phase of elections in West Bengal, opposition parties have come together to support CM Mamata Banerjee. They accused the poll body of "submitting" to BJP for curtailing campaign time by a day after violence at Amit Shah's Kolkata roadshow. Congress questioned if EC was following "Modi Code of Misconduct". Here's more.
During Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday, clashes between BJP and TMC supporters broke out at Calcutta University and College Street. Shah accused TMC of attacking his roadshow while the ruling TMC blamed BJP for the violence. BJP supporters allegedly set motorcycles on fire in Vidyasagar College and also vandalized the bust of the iconic 19th-century educationist and social reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
The Election Commission has, for the first time, invoked Article 324 of the Indian Constitution to reduce the campaigning time. Article 324 allows the poll body to restrict poll campaigns by giving it the power of "superintendence, direction, and control of elections".
The EC has curtailed the campaigning in West Bengal because of the clashes during which Vidyasagar's statue was vandalized. Since the campaigning time has been reduced for the last phase, campaigning will end at 10 pm on Thursday night instead of 5 pm on Friday. EC also ordered the removal of WB's Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General of CID (Criminal Investigation Department).
CM Banerjee, however, said the EC's move was "unethical, unconstitutional, undemocratic and biased." She said, "... (PM) 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."
BSP chief and former Uttar Pradesh CM, Mayawati, came out in strong support of Banerjee, accusing PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of targeting Banerjee. "It is clear that PM Modi, Amit Shah, and their leaders are targeting Mamata Banerjee, it's planned targeting. This is a very dangerous and unjust trend...one which doesn't suit the PM of the country," she said.
Echoing Banerjee's view, Mayawati said, "The Election Commission has banned campaigning...from 10 pm today just because the PM has two rallies in the day. If they had to ban, then why not from today morning? This is unfair and EC is acting under pressure."
The Congress also, meanwhile, called the EC's decision "an unpardonable betrayal of the constitution," alleging that the election body had "become a pawn in the hands of the Modi-Shah duo." Congress spokesperson Randeep Sujrewala said the EC's campaign order is aimed "solely at giving a free pass to the PM's rallies," questioning whether the Model Code of Conduct has become "Modi Code of Misconduct".