New Delhi, May 15: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Thursday raised questions over the Election Commission's order curtailing campaigning in West Bengal, wondering if the poll panel is "waiting for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to complete his public meetings" there.
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 TMC workers in Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee Hits Out at EC For Curtailing Poll Campaigning in West Bengal, Calls Decision 'Unprecedented' & 'Politically Biased'.
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.
Reacting to the development, Patel tweeted, "If situation in Bengal is so severe that campaigning must be stopped, why is EC waiting until tomorrow? Is it because PM has scheduled rallies tomorrow?"
"Isn't it unprecedented that EC claims it's an unprecedented situation in West Bengal but yet is waiting for PM to complete his public meetings?" he said in another tweet.
The EC's action came a day after parts of Kolkata witnessed wide-spread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's massive road show in the city. The violence apparently began after suspected TMC supporters hurled stones at the BJP convoy from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College. Furious BJP workers retaliated, and during the clash a bust of polymath-social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar inside the campus was damaged.