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BJP-TMC protest Highlights: Livid Mamata lashes out at EC, Modi as poll panel curtails campaign in Bengal

BJP-TMC protest Highlights: On Tuesday, clashes broke out between BJP supporters and Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) activists after stones were allegedly pelted at Amit Shah’s convoy as it passed through College Street.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2019 12:25:54 am
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inspects the vandalised statue of Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, after the clashes that broke out at BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow, in Kolkata, Tuesday night, May 14, 2019. (Handout Photo/ PTI)

In the wake of the violent clashes between TMC and BJP workers during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, the Election Commission on Wednesday barred poll campaigning in nine parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal, that go to polls on Sunday in the final phase, from 10 pm tomorrow.

“The election commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration,” said a poll panel official in a press conference. “This is probably the first time that ECI has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner,” he added.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Polling schedule, results date, constituency-wise results, FAQs, key candidates

The constituencies that will go to poll in the final phase are Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South and North Kolkata.

Hitting out at poll panel’s order to ban election campaigning in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Tuesday’s Kolkata violence as “pre-planned communal conspiracy” and accused Shah behind the riots caused in the state. “The Election Commission is following BJP’s orders. EC should have taken action against Amit Shah for violence in Kolkata. Why did it not issue a showcause notice against Shah,” the chief minister said.

Earlier today, Modi said: “Didi is frightened by the rise of BJP in West Bengal.” Addressing a poll rally in the TMC ruled state, the prime minister also accused Banerjee of throttling democracy and added that the people of the state have made up their mind to “end this despotic rule of Mamata Banerjee one day”. BJP national president Amit Shah too accused the TMC workers of vandalising Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s bust to gain sympathy as Mamata Banerjee government is going to lose the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Live Blog

BJP-TMC clashes in Kolkata: A day after, protest rallies have been planned by the two parties. Read in Bangla

22:31 (IST)15 May 2019
Yechury questions EC's ban on campaigning after 10 pm, asks if it is to allow PM to address rallies

Soon after the Election Commission imposed a ban on poll campaigning in Bengal from tomorrow 10 pm, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury questioned the panel's decision and asked if the poll bod had set time to allow Modi to address his rallies in the state.

"The decision by the EC to stop campaigning a day in advance is not understood. The first thing being expected by EC was action against the lumpen elements of BJP and TMC for violence yesterday. Why has no action been initiated?" the CPI(M) leader asked.

"On the fears of violation cited in the letter issued by the EC, where is the redressal mechanism if there is accumulation of arms or any other violation? So far there has been no action by the EC. This silence by them is widely considered as benefitting the ruling parties,"

22:26 (IST)15 May 2019
Jharkhand: BJP stages dharna in Ranchi against Shah's attack in Kolkata

The BJP members staged a dharna in Ranchi covering their mouths with black clothes in protest to the Kolkata violence that broke out during Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday. State Urban Development Minister C P Singh and other BJP leaders sat silently in the dharna at the Elbert Ekka Chowk.

"The West Bengal government is murdering democracy. (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee is throttling the voice of the people by using goons and wants to govern by violence and appeasement," Singh said later.

(With PTI inputs)

22:21 (IST)15 May 2019
Classic case of breakdown of Constitutional machinery in WB: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called  EC's campaign ban on Bengal as a "classic case of breakdown of the Constitutional machinery".  "A constitutional authority, the Election Commission of India, has effectively held Bengal to be a state in Anarchy. Repeatedly escalating violence, state supported Vandals, a partisan police and home department are the illustrations the ECI has given. A free campaign is not possible and therefore the campaign has to be cut short. This is a classical case of breakdown of the Constitutional Machinery." 

21:46 (IST)15 May 2019
People of Bengal will give befitting reply to perpetrators of violence and hooliganism: Kejriwal
21:32 (IST)15 May 2019
Kolkata violence was similar to when Babri Masjid demolished: Mamata Banerjee

"Goons were brought from outside, they created violence wearing saffron, violence similar to when Babri Masjid was demolished. Election Commission's decision is unfair, unethical and politically biased. PM Modi given time to finish his two rallies tomorrow."

"Never seen this type of EC. It's full of RSS people. No law and order problem in West Bengal. Clamping Article 324 unprecedented, unconstitutional, unethical."

21:26 (IST)15 May 2019
Mamata Banerjee calls Kolkata violence as 'pre-planned communal conspiracy'

Mamata Banerjee called yesterday's violence as a "pre-planned communal conspiracy".  "EC should have taken action against Amit Shah for violence in Kolkata."

The chief minister questioned EC's invoke ban at 10 pm. "Why did the EC not ban the campaigning earlier?" The prime minister will hold two rallies in Kolkata tomorrow afternoon, prior to the EC ban. 

21:24 (IST)15 May 2019
Mamata alleges BJP chief Shah's hand in Kolkata violence

"This is an unprecedented decision. Yesterday's violence was because of Amit Shah. Why has EC not issued a show-cause notice to him or sacked him? Amit Shah today did a press conference, threatened EC, is this the result of that? Bengal is not scared. Bengal was targeted because I am speaking against Modi," Banerjee said. 

21:21 (IST)15 May 2019
Never seen such a poll panel: Mamata Banerjee

"Never seen such a poll panel in my life," Kolkata CM said. 

"Not EC, but Narendra Modi and Amit Shah directed removal of home secretary." Narendra Modi you can't take of your wife, how can you take care of the country?"

21:15 (IST)15 May 2019
EC following BJP's orders: Mamata Banerjee

Addressing a press conference after EC's order, Kolkata Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the Election Commission is following BJP's orders. She further alleged that BJP president Amit Shah made efforts to create riots in Bengal and that the poll panel failed to take any action against him. 

"Why didn't EC show cause Amit Shah," Banerjee questions. 

"Whatever violence has happened in 3-4 polling booths has been orchestrated by the Centre. Modi is scared of Bengal and its people." Amit Shah tried to create riots in Bengal but the EC has not taken any action against him. The violence was more intense than the riots after babri masjid."

20:48 (IST)15 May 2019
Kolkata violence: BJP delegation met VP Venkaiah Naidu, call attack on Shah as 'murderous'

A BJP delegation including Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vijay Goel met Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu over Kolkata violence during Amit Shah's roadshow. The delegation referred the attack on Shah as "murderous", PTI reported.

Speaking to reporters, Javadekar said the protection of Rajya Sabha members is a responsibility of the House and its Chairman, and the party leaders urged Naidu to intervene in the matter. 

The delgation also included Rajya Sabha members Anil Baluni, G V L Narasimha Rao and Rakesh Sinha, besides Kamarsu

20:31 (IST)15 May 2019
Watch: EC bans election campaigning in Bengal's 9 constituencies
20:13 (IST)15 May 2019
Explained: Where Vidyasagar stands in the history of Indian social reform

Born in 1820 in a Brahmin family, Iswar Chandra is known to have been thirsty for knowledge since his childhood. He studied Sanskrit grammar, literature, Vedanta philosophy, logic, astronomy, and Hindu law for more than 12 years at Sanskrit College in Calcutta, and received the title of Vidyasagar — Ocean of Learning — at the age of just 21. 

The focus of his social reform was women — and he spent his life’s energies trying to ensure an end to the practice of child marriage and initiate widow remarriage. In January and October 1855, Vidyasagar wrote his two famous tracts on the Marriage of Hindu Widows, basing his argument entirely on reason and logic, and showing that there was no prohibition on widows remarrying in the entire body of ‘Smriti’ literature (the Sutras and the Shastras).


20:09 (IST)15 May 2019
What is Article 324 invoked by EC for first time?

The Election Commission for the first time invokes Article 324 of the Indian Constitution which gives the superintendence, direction, and control of elections to the poll panel. 

Article 324 reads: The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice President held under this Constitution shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission)

20:01 (IST)15 May 2019
EC removes Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID from their posts

A day before the scheduled deadline, the poll panel ordered to end the election campaign in nine parliamentary constituencies of Bengal at 10 pm Thursday night. "Deeply anguished" at the vandalism, the Election Commission said the ADG CID, Rajiv Kumar stands relieved and attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration. ADG CID, Rajiv Kumar stands relieved and attached to MHA. He should report to MHA by 10 am tomorrow.Principal Secy,Home &Health Affairs WB govt stands relieved from his current charge immediately for having interfered in process of conducting polls by directing WB CEO. Chief Secretary will look after Home Department."

19:57 (IST)15 May 2019
No campaigning in 9 constituencies of Bengal from 10 pm tomorrow: EC

The poll panel listed nine parliamentary constituencies in Bengal where election campaigning will not be held including, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South and North Kolkata from 10 pm tomorrow till the conclusion of polls.

19:49 (IST)15 May 2019
Poll campaigning to end in Kolkata tomorrow: EC

After the Kolkata violence during BJP's president Amit Shah's roadshow, the Election Commission today directed to end poll campaigning in Kolkata from tomorrow.

"This is probably the first time that ECI has invoked Article 324 in this manner but it may not be last in cases of repetition of lawlessness and violence which vitiate the conduct of polls in a peaceful manner," the EC said.  Read in Bangla 

19:34 (IST)15 May 2019
Glimpse of Mamata Banerjee holding roadshow from Beliaghata to Shyambazar to protest vandalism

18:57 (IST)15 May 2019
CM Chandrababu Naidu alleges BJP of triggering violence in Bengal

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu accused BJP of triggering violence in Bengal and alleged that the ruling party was attempting to destabilise the state government there.

After desperately trying to destabilise the state government of West Bengal through CBI, ED and IT, they are now resorting to direct violence which shows their true colours," the TDP president said in a tweet.

In a separate tweet, Naidu stated, "Vandalising the statue of a great reformer like Sri Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is an indication of the pseudo-nationalism practiced by the BJP. This incident underlines the need for all the opposition parties to stand united against the destructive tactics of Amit Shah-led BJP."

18:44 (IST)15 May 2019
Mamata Banerjee takes out roadshow to protest against vandalism

(Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

18:37 (IST)15 May 2019
Jammu: BJP staged 'silent sit-in' protest against Kolkata violence

The BJP staged a "silent sit-in" in Jammu protesting against the alleged attack on party president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, terming the incident as "an onslaught on democracy".

Led by BJP leader Ashok Kaul, scores of party workers assembled near the statue of Maharaja Hari Singh at Tawi bridge in the heart of the city. The agitators were carrying placards and banners against the TMC government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Party leader Yudhvir Sethi alleged that there was "total lawlessness" in West Bengal. "Sensing defeat in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections... the opposition is hell bent to let the nation burn, so that they can rule according to their own whims and fancies making their riches grow every other day," the BJP leader said. BJP leader Narinder Singh said, "Mamata Banerjee is frustrated by the BJP's growing base in the region, which forms the basis of her panicked and ugly political moves."

kolkata violence, protest against Amit Shah violence, amit shah, amit shah rally in kolkata, amit shah road show in kolkata, amit shah road show today, violence at amit shah road show, violence in kolkata, jantar Mantar protest, BJP, TMC, lok sabha elections 2019 BJP-TMC protest LIVE updates: Mamata Banerjee tried to provoke violence. But I am safe,” said Amit Shah. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

BJP-TMC protest LIVE updates: On Tuesday evening, clashes broke out between BJP supporters and Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) activists after stones were allegedly pelted at Amit Shah’s convoy as it passed through College Street. The protest left several injured and police told Shah to wrap up the roadshow. It also spilled over to Vidyasagar College in Bidhan Sarani, about two km from Calcutta University, where BJP workers set two-wheelers on fire and vandalised a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

After the incident, Shah, alleged that the Bengal chief minister tried to provoke the violence and TMC hooligans tried to attack him. “There was an attempt by TMC hooligans to attack me. Mamata Banerjee tried to provoke violence. But I am safe,” Shah told a news channel.

The BJP chief further said while the clashes erupted, police remained a mute spectator. “They (police) deviated from the planned route and took a way where there were traffic jams. I was not allowed to reach Swami Vivekananda’s house to pay tributes and I am saddened by it,” Shah claimed.

Condemning the violence, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley wondered if free and fair elections were possible in Bengal. “Has Bengal acquired a Government of Gangsters? The attack on Amit Shah’s peaceful rally by the TMC is deplorable. Is a free and fair poll possible in Bengal? All eyes are now on the Election Commission,” Jaitley said.

Calling Shah a “goonda” (goon), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a protest rally today against the vandalisation of the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. “If you lay your hands on Vidyasagar, what will I call you other than a goonda. I hate your ideology, I hate your ways,” the TMC supremo said.