The "silence period", during which no party or candidate can hold public meetings or display election issues via electronic media, now arrives in the nine electoral districts from 10 p.m. on Thursday, instead of Friday. Relying on the power it enjoys under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC called "an atmosphere of fear and hatred" and "widespread anxiety psychosis" in "voting areas" to explain its decision. It also ordered the removal of ADG (CID) in Raigev Kumar, a police organization in West Bengal, near CM Mamata Banerjee, who had previously sat on a dharna against the CBI's decision to interrogate him in the Saradha scam case.
Kumar, who, according to the report of observers sent by the EC, himself arrested people on Tuesday evening, has been asked to report to the Ministry of the Interior in New Delhi on Thursday at 10.00.
Another relieved officer is West Bengal chief secretary Atri Bhattacharya, who, according to the polling station, had "interfered with the election" by writing a letter to the director of West Bengal with instructions for conducting the vote: an action that the EC has interpreted as "interference in the electoral process". The responsibility of Bhattacharya is now handled by Chief Secretary Malay De.
This should make the battle for the remaining LS seats in West Bengal tough. Trinamool, which flooded the state in 2014, has tried hard to hold its trump, assuming that a rich flight will help its leader play a major role in the formation of the government if the verdict on May 23 is not clear winner. On the other hand, BJP is hopeful of making substantial profits that help compensate for potential losses elsewhere, especially in UP.
The action of the EC, which came one day after the violence during the roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah in Kolkata, drew an aggressive protest from Banerjee that the & # 39; completely undemocratic, unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and politically biased & # 39 ; called. She accused the EC of being a tool for PM Narendra Modi and Shah. "This is not an EC directive, it is a directive of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah," she said, adding that the EC had allowed parties to campaign until 10 p.m. on Thursday because of the two rally's Modi would rather stay in South Parganas in the day.
But even when she protested, Banerjee seemed to have withdrawn to the changed situation. "I will also move my Friday & # 39; s to Thursday," she said, preparing the way for a high-voltage day.
BJP was also not out of a fight with Modi, while he was speaking with a demonstration in Basirhat in the state, making Banerjee responsible for the violence during Shah & # 39; s Kolkata roadshow. "Just two days ago Didi had stated that she would teach BJP a lesson and that she had made up for her threat by organizing an attack on the BJP President's roadshow. She was bent so low because the pro-BJP wave made her rattle, "he said.
The EC decision to short election work followed two reports, one of EC observers specially designated by Bengal Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dubey, and the other of Deputy Head of Election Commissioner in charge of the state of Sudeep Jain.
In his report, Jain stated that, "at first sight everything looks good", there was a widespread anxiety psychosis in the interactions with the audience. Jain, who visited the state, said there was clear opposition and non-cooperation from the district administration and the police to provide a level playing field for all campaign candidates and to offer voters a threat-free environment. Observers, he said, pointed out that leading Trinamool leaders said that "central forces will leave after elections while we will stay". This produced a hair-raising message to both officers and voters.
Sources said that special observers from the EC, Nayak and Dubey, as well as Sudeep Jain, had suggested that 2-3 other officers, including a senior police officer in Barrackpore, were being transferred for acting in a biased manner.
TOI has been informed that the Governor of West Bengal in his report to the Interior Ministry has emphasized widespread poll-related violence and has also noted that citizens were confronted with intimidation, which affected their rights.
When Jain spoke to the media on Wednesday, this was probably the first time the EC had quoted Article 324 to put an end to the campaign prematurely, "it may not be the last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violent behavior polls. in a peaceful and orderly manner. "