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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a news briefing on Wednesday evening minutes after the Election Commission announced its unprecedented step of cutting short poll campaigning in the state by 24 hours in light of the violence that has taken place there 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.
Banerjee attacked the Election Commission, which had also effectively sacked two of her top officers - ADG(CID) Rajeev Kumar and West Bengal Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya.
Pronouncing that there was a prevailing emergency-like situation, Mamata Banerjee said that the decisions announced weren't by the Election Commission, rather that they had been taken by PM Modi and Amit Shah. Declaring that there was no law and order problem in West Bengal, she claimed that the violence had all taken place because of the BJP party chief. She asked why no showcause notice had been sent to him and also claimed that 15-20 crore had been spent on his roadshow.
"What does the EC think? That they can make the BJP win? That they can make Modi win? Bengal won't tolerate this."
Calling herself the biggest challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee put forth that this was the reason that Bengal was being targeted in such a manner. She alleged that the BJP had called in 'goons' from all over the country, even claiming that the person who had slapped Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also present.
"Why don't you showcause Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? Will you only do what the BJP tells you? The Opposition also has a space in the country," Mamata Banerjee said, going on to issue a personal attack at PM Modi citing his wife. Continuing her rant, she appealed to the people of the country to remove the Modi government.
She also attacked the Supreme Court, citing its refusal to interfere in Election Commission-related matters. "Where will we go if nobody listens?," she asked, adding, "Where is democracy?"
Going on to issue threats, she named officers of the Election Commission, accusing them of threatening West Bengal's administrative officers. Saying that she has all the documents, Banerjee warned "we can rake up your old cases too."
She also attacked the media saying, "Why is media afraid of EC? Media is under pressure. Where will people go? EC can apply 324, you will get 356 in return. People will apply 144 to BJP now" and went on to request all other political parties to protest alongside her.
In terms of how the decision to cut short campaigning in West Bengal goes, Mamata Banerjee said that there would be no impact as her party would re-schedule its activities in such a manner.
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