Showing the West Bengal government who is the ‘boss’ in elections, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday eased of some key officials in the State.
The Election Commission (EC) ordered removal of Home Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya and Additional Director General, CID, Rajeev Kumar from their postings in West Bengal and ordered Rajeev Kumar to report to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday.
The poll panel stated West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De would take over Atri Bhattacharya’s duties.
It also stated that campaigning for the running Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal will end on Thursday in view of the violence in Kolkata at Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s road show on Tuesday.
Campaigning would end at 5 pm on Friday in normal circumstances, according to the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
On Wednesday, the poll panel ordered no campaigning can be held in the Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South and North Kolkata Lok Sabha constituencies after 10 pm on Thursday, according to reports.
These constituencies will vote on the last phase of Lok Sabha elections May 19.
The panel told the press, “The commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals will be traced by the state administration.” It also added, “This was the first time Article 324 of the Constitution, which deals with its powers to conduct elections, had been invoked to curtail campaigning.”
The order on curtailment of the campaigning was signed by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and fellow commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra. The vandalisation of 19th-century Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s bust and clashes during BJP President Shah’s road show in Kolkata triggered a fierce blame game between BJP and the WB ruling party Trinamool Congress.
On Wednesday, Shah, at a press conference in Delhi, alleged that Mamata Banerjee’s TMC was involved in vandalizing the bust and unleashing violence during his road show in Kolkata on Tuesday, says it was ‘conspiracy’ to blame the BJP.