Bengal election: Mamata Banerjee banned from campaigning for 24 hours
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was on Monday banned for 24 hours from campaigning for the ongoing state Assembly polls. The Election Commission said that Banerjee violated rules by inciting voters to gherao central forces during polling and seeking votes on communal lines. The CM will sit on a dharna on Tuesday in protest of the EC's ban. Here are more details.
'Highly insinuating and provocative remarks'
The EC said, in an order, that Banerjee made "highly insinuating and provocative remark laden with serious potential of breakdown of law and order and thereby adversely affecting the election process." The poll body found Banerjee "in violation of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct as well as Section 123(3) & (3A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951."
Election Commission 'condemns such statements'
The order said, "The Commission hereby condemns such statements portent with serious law & order problems across the State(s) and sternly warns Ms. Mamata Banerjee and advises her to desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force." The order banned Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours starting 8 pm on Monday.
Banerjee had asked voters to gherao central forces
On April 7, Banerjee delivered a speech in Cooch Behar wherein she asked voters to gherao Central Armed Police Forces personnel while others cast their vote. "Talking to them will be tantamount to restrain them. You don't have to gherao them literally," she had added. At least four people were killed in Cooch Behar when a mob attacked CAPF personnel guarding a polling booth.
EC sent notice to Banerjee on April 8
On April 8, the EC had sent a notice to Banerjee asking her to explain her remarks on the central forces. Earlier, she had also warned minority communities that they will be in severe danger if the BJP comes to power in the state.
EC's decision undemocratic, unconstitutional: Banerjee
Banerjee said she will sit on a dharna on Tuesday to protest against EC's ban. She tweeted, "To protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional decision of the Election Commission of India, I will sit on dharna tomorrow at Gandhi Murti, Kolkata from 12 noon." Derek O'Brien, an MP from Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC), said in a tweet, "EC stands for Extremely Compromised."