New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has barred West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours. The poll body said Monday that Mamata Banerjee cannot campaign in any manner from 8.00pm Monday till 8.00pm April 13. The ECI’s decision comes in the backdrop of its show cause notice to the Trinamool Congress supremo.
The EC had earlier show-caused Banerjee for her comments against the central security forces. The EC had said that those were unwanted comments and it gave Banerjee 24 hours to reply to its notice. However, Banerjee remained defiant and did not reply to the notice served on her. As a result, the EC decided to bar her from campaigning for 24 hours.
Shortly after the Election Commission barred West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress boss Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours, her party claimed that the poll panel was behaving like a ‘wing of the BJP’ and its decision smacks of authoritarianism. Banerjee said she will stage a ‘dharna’ to protest against the EC’s ‘unconstitutional decision’.
Derek O’Brien, TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP, said it was a black day for India’s democracy. “EC stands for Extremely Compromised. April 12 BLACK DAY in our democracy,” O’Brien tweeted. “Always knew we were winning Bengal,” he added.
Echoing him, another party leader, Kunal Ghosh, said the decision to ban Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours is ‘atrocious and smacks of authoritarianism’.
“The EC is behaving like a wing of the BJP. The ban is atrocious and smacks of authoritarianism. The sole aim of the EC is to stop Banerjee from campaigning as the BJP has already sensed defeat. This is shameful,” Ghosh said.
The poll panel’s order came after Banerjee’s remarks against central forces and her statement which had alleged religious overtones.
“Commission hereby condemns such statements potent with serious law and order problems across the state(s) and sternly warns 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 said.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah has blamed Banerjee for instigating people against the central forces. Banerjee in various rallies have alleged that the central forces are helping the BJP and preventing peaceful execution of polls.