Hours before the Election Commission curtailed campaigning in West Bengal, BJP president Amit Shah accused the Election Commission of being “partial from the very beginning” in its conduct in the state, and questioned its neutrality. He said he would not have escaped unhurt from his Kolkata roadshow Tuesday had he not had the protection of CRPF personnel.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi Wednesday, a day after his party workers and TMC student wing members fought pitched battles during his roadshow, Shah alleged that TMC “goons” attacked his cavalcade and vandalised the statue of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to “gain fake sympathy”.
Targeting the poll panel, Shah said: “We have made a demand but I do not have any great hope that the Election Commission will act. The EC has been partial in its functioning in West Bengal from the very beginning.” He alleged that the EC had different standards for West Bengal than other parts of the country.
He accused the Commission of being a “mute spectator” in West Bengal and said the history-sheeters there were not arrested before the polls. “Why is EC silent? What are their observers doing?… If elections are to be held in this manner, then the question arises on the neutrality of the EC. I appeal to EC. One last phase of polling is left. It should ensure fair elections at least once in West Bengal.”
He said UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other BJP leaders were barred from canvassing after the Commission took suo motu cognizance. “Mamata Didi publicly threatened to take revenge. Why did the EC not take cognizance? Why was she not barred from canvassing?”.
Displaying photographs of the arson in Kolkata and his own attempts to shield himself, Shah said three attacks were carried out during the roadshow and third attack included arson, pelting of stones and kerosene bottles. He said despite advance information that some youth from inside the university could trigger violence, the police did not arrest anyone, made no security arrangement and did not take preventive measures to stop them. Shah said all the stone-pelters were inside the university campus and workers of the BJP had been at the receiving end.
Shah claimed his party had already crossed the majority mark after the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls and the tally would cross 300 after the seventh and last phase of polling. He took a swipe at Opposition parties over their proposed meeting before the May 23 results, saying they may meet to elect a Leader of Opposition.