EC curtails West Bengal campaigning after Kolkata violence

NEW DELHI, May 15: The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 PM on Thursday night, a day before its scheduled deadline, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata.
The two parties have traded charges of inciting the violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s massive road show in the state capital on Tuesday.
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.
The EC also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID from their postings in West Bengal.
The vandalisation of a bust of 19th century social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in Kolkata and subsequent clashes triggered a fierce blame game between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress on Wednesday, days ahead of the last phase of Lok Sabha polls.
BJP Chief Amit Shah, at a press conference here, alleged that Mamata Banerjee’s TMC was involved in vandalising Vidyasagar’s bust and unleashing violence during his roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday as part of a “conspiracy” to blame the BJP.
On its part, the TMC released videos to claim that “BJP goons” damaged the statue and “hurt Bengali pride”. The Mamata Banerjee-led party alleged the videos not only establish what the BJP did, but proved that Shah is a “liar” and a “dhokebaaz” (betrayer).
The Congress and the CPI(M) too targeted the BJP over the damage to the bust at Vidyasagar College, which was on the route of Shah’s rally. PTI