Election Commission punishing democracy, Bengal order a parting gift to PM Modi: Congress
Day after the Election Commission issued an unprecedented order of curtailing poll campaigning in West Bengal, the Congress reacted sharply and said that the poll panel was punishing democracy. Addressing the media in New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Bengal order “appears to be EC's parting gift to PM Modi - to ensure that his 2 remaining rallies in WB aren't impacted by its order.” Surjewala also said that the cancellation of poll campaigning was a “glaring example of the Election Commission is being muzzled into submission by Modi government.”
The Congress spokesperson also said that the party had filed “as many as 11 complaints with definite evidence” against the BJP leaders. “The flagrant and ugly display of wealth by the ruling BJP drew no response or action from EC as a constitutional watchdog. Has the watchdog now become subservient to the machinations of the ruling party,” aske the senior Congress leader.
“The unchecked and brazen violence and arson by BJP in West Bengal on May 14, 2019 deserved strict definite punitive action against Amit Shah and other BJP leaders,” Surjewala added.
In first such action in India's electoral history, the Election Commission on Wednesday 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 Trinamool workers in Kolkata. In a hurriedly-convened press conference, Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar said it was for the first time that such an action has been taken using constitutional powers of the poll panel. The Election Commission (EC) also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya and Additional Director General, CID, Rajeev Kumar from their postings in West Bengal.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, who is in charge of West Bengal, said Bhattacharya "stands relieved" from his current charge immediately, "for having interfered in the process of conducting elections" by directing the state chief electoral officer, which he was not supposed do. The state chief secretary will look after the charge of the home secretary. He said Rajeev Kumar has been attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs.