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Monday, May 17, 2021

Bengal polls: BJP leaders take potshots at Mamata, say won’t sit on dharna over EC notices

"Commission has taken a lot of step against several BJP leaders even in past, but none sat on road in protest against Commission like Mamata Banerjee. We all follow Election Commission's instructions," said Ghosh.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: April 13, 2021 10:44:24 pm
Phone screen is rally ground in Bengal: PM clip to Didi footBJP supporters hold up their smartphones at a public meeting in South 24 parganas. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

After the Election Commission on Tuesday barred BJP leader Rahul Sinha from campaigning for 48 hours and also sent a notice to Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh over their ‘provocative’ remarks on the Sitalkuchi poll violence, the saffron party said they will follow EC’s instructions, unlike Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is sitting on a dharna against the Commission’s decision to bar her from campaigning for 24 hours.

“The Commission has taken a lot of steps against several BJP leaders in the past, but none sat on road in protest against the Commission like Mamata Banerjee. We all follow Election Commission’s instructions,” said Ghosh.

Ghosh, who got the ECI notice for suggesting there would be more Sitalkuchi-like incidents if “someone crosses his limits”, slammed Banerjee for sitting on a dharna against the poll watchdog’s decision to bar her from campaigning.

The BJP and the TMC are engaged in a no-holds barred duel against each other in the high-pitched West Bengal Assembly election campaign, even as the poll watchdog has issued notices to both parties for resorting to objectionable remarks.

The Election Commission has barred Mamata Banerjee from poll campaigning for 24 hours. Here, she is seen sitting on a dharna protesting against EC’s decision in Kolkata. Express Photo Shashi Ghosh

Speaking on EC’s decision to bar him from campaigning, Sinha said that while he has received a harsher punishment than his actions, the poll watchdog works without any biases. “If Commission was partial they wouldn’t have show-caused me. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants Commission to work the way its state election commission was working in Panchayat elections. Election Commission of India works without any biases. For them, BJP, TMC and all political parties are the same. If that wouldn’t have been the case, they would not have sent me a notice. Though I feel I have got harsher punishment than my actions,” he said.

In its statement, the ECI said Sinha made “highly provocative statements mocking the human life, inciting the forces that could have serious law and order implications thereby adversely affecting the election process.”

Meanwhile, a senior BJP leader, who didn’t want to be identified, said, “TMC has tried its best to create a trust issue between Election Commission and voters. Commission is an independent body which works freely and in a neutral way. BJP won’t sit on dharna challenging ECI.”

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The Election Commission has also issued a warning to BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari for making ‘derogatory statements’.

Earlier on Monday, the poll panel barred Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours for her remarks against central forces.

Responding to the EC notice against the three BJP leaders, TMC’s senior leader and minister Sovan Deb Chattopadhyay raised questions on the fairness of the poll watchdog. “The Commission imposed a bar on Mamata Banerjee while those who have been regularly instigating people and using “provocative” speeches have been given a warning. Banning a candidate of BJP who is contesting election from one seat and banning Mamata Banerjee who is contesting from all 294 seats are not same,” said Chattopadhyay.

The eight-phase assembly polls in West Bengal are being held between March 27 and April 29.

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