Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is sitting on dharna at Gandhi Murti in Kolkata on Tuesday, as a mark of protest after the Election Commission (EC) imposed a ban on her for 24 hours from campaigning in any manner from 8 pm on April 12 till 8 pm on April 13.
While sitting on the dharna she is keeping herself busy by painting.
The Election Commission on Monday banned Mamata Banerjee from campaigning in the ongoing state elections for 24 hours and said she had made “highly insinuating and provocative remarks laden with the serious potential of the breakdown of law and order and thereby affecting the election process”.
The ban comes into force ahead of the fifth phase of Assembly polls in the state on April 17.
The poll panel in its order condemned her statements “portent with serious law and order problems across the state (s)” and sternly warned her.
It advised her “to desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force.” Following this, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien called the EC’s move a ‘black day for democracy’.
“Today is a black day in Indian democracy. They can not beat us, that is why they ban us,” tweeted O’Brien. He further remarked that the EC stands for ‘Extremely Compromised’.
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) April 12, 2021
Leaders from different political parties also reacted strongly against EC’s move to ban Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours in the ongoing Assembly elections over her appeal for votes along communal lines.
Abhijit Banerjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress leader, said, “Banning Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for the next 24 hours while ignoring hate speeches of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders is nothing but a naked display of favouritism by the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.” Banerjee further questioned if there was any deal between Arora and the BJP.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik also slammed EC over the decision.
“This is not right. It is inappropriate to ban a leader like Mamata Banerjee that too from campaigning for her own party. The decision appeared to be politically motivated. I appeal the EC to withdraw the ban as soon as possible,” Malik told ANI.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Zafar Islam said the Commission took the right step. He also said people are fed up with Mamata Banerjee’s government and want a change.
Polling for the first four phases has been concluded in West Bengal. The fifth and sixth phases of the ongoing elections will take place on April 17 and April 22. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.
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