In light of the violence that has taken place in the state in each of the six election phases thus far, plus the clashes that broke out at BJP party chief Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday, on Wednesday evening, in an unprecedented step, the Election Commission cut short the campaign in West Bengal by 24 hours.
Following the development, more than 20 parties will be protesting against the Central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and against the Election Commission in West Bengal. The 20 parties will include Akhilesh Yadav led- Samajwadi party, Mayawati led- BSP, and Rahul Gandhi led-Congress.
Sources also said that N. Chandrababu Naidu led-TDP, MK Stalin-led DMK, Farooq Abdullah led- NC, Sharad Pawar led- NCP can also be the part of the united opposition protesting against the EC in Bengal.
Supporting Mamata Banerjee while she lashed out on the Election Commission and the Supreme Court, CPI(M) general secretary said 'EC to stop campaigning a day in advance is "not understood" whereas Akhilesh Yadav said that the EC's decision to call off campaigning in Bengal is against all norms of democratic fair play.
During the press briefing on Wednesday evening, the Election Commission announced that ADG (CID) West Bengal Rajeev Kumar stands relieved of his post and is reassigned to the Home Ministry in New Delhi where he will have to report by 10 am on Thursday. Furthermore, it said Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary (Home) of the West Bengal government is removed and his duties will be discharged with the state's Chief Secretary for the time being.
"Rajeev Kumar ADG (CID) stands relieved and attached to Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. He shall report at the Ministry of Home Affairs by 10.00 am on May 16, 2019. Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary, Home and Hill Affairs, Government of West Bengal stands relieved from his current charge immediately for having interfered in the process of conducting the elections by directing CEO, West Bengal," the EC notice read.
Furthermore, the Election Commission suspended campaigning of all forms in West Bengal from 10 pm on Thursday, May 16, till the end of the polls on May 19. In the normal course, the campaigning was to end at 5 pm on May 17.
"This would be the first time when ECI has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be the last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which initiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful and orderly manner," said the Election Commission in the notice on Wednesday.