In a massive decision that comes against the backdrop of violence being witnessed in each of the six phases of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal thus far, the Election Commission decreed on Wednesday that election campaigning for the seventh phase in the state would be suspended 24 hours ahead of the earlier allotted time, and announced key personnel decisions in relation.
Here's what the Election Commission said in its briefing:
"No person shall convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting in connection with an election or display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, TV or other similar apparatus or propagate any election matter to the public by way of any musical concert or any other amusement with a view to attracting people, for these elections.
No liquor or any such material will be distributed or served in polling areas in nine constituencies - Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jainagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadhavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar from 10 pm on May 16 till the conclusion of polls.
This will be the first time that EC has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be the last in case of violence that vitiates the polls.
EC is dismayed at the destruction of the bust of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar.(which took place during the clashes that broke out at Amit Shah's poll rally on Tuesday)"
The Election Commission's briefing comes just about 24 hours after shocking violence was witnessed at BJP chief Amit Shah's poll rally in Kolkata, following which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday undertook a protest march. Violence of various forms was also witnessed in each of the six phases of the Lok Sabha polls that have been held in the state thus far.