West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday launched a tirade against the Election Commission of India accusing it of functioning at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. A visibly angry chief minister told reporters in Kolkata that RSS workers had infiltrated the national election body.
Questioning the Election Commission’s decision to impose Article 324 and cut short the campaigning period in the state by 24 hours, Banerjee said, “There is no such law and order problem in West Bengal that Article 324 can be clamped. It is unprecedented, unconstitutional and unethical. It is actually a gift to Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah.”
Banerjee said that if there was a problem of violence in West Bengal, then the national poll body ought to have stopped campaigning from Wednesday. “But they would never do that because tomorrow (Thursday) there is a rally of Modi. So once his rally ends, the campaign ends? Unfair, unconstitutional, unprecedented…,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee also called Shah a ‘goon leader’ and asked how his son Jay Shah’s income had risen so much since the BJP formed its government at the Centre. Banerjee also targeted Modi for not being able to take care of his wife, adding that how he will ‘take care of democracy in India?’
Banerjee said that some emergency situation had ‘arisen due to some directions of the Election Commission.’ “I don’t consider these as Election Commission’s decision. These have been taken as per the direction of the BJP, Modi and Amit Shah,” she said.
Banerjee said that the Election Commission’s decision to impose Article 324 came hours after Shah held a press conference on Tuesday’s violence during his road show. “In the morning, Shah held a press conference in Delhi, where he threatened the Election Commission. Is this a fallout of that?” she asked. Banerjee said that her voice could not be stifled.
West Bengal chief minister also complained that even the Supreme Court was not listening to her. She said, “What kind of democracy is this? The Supreme Court is not listening to us. The Election Commission is listening to BJP. Where will we go? Where will our people go?”
The Election Commission on Wednesday removed two senior bureaucrats from their posts besides invoking Article 324 for the first time. This was after Shah’s road show saw violent clashes in Kolkata on Tuesday leading to the vandalisation of a statue of famous Bengali reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.