The Congress and the CPI(M) on Wednesday condemned the violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday and slammed the saffron party for desecration of the statue of social reformer Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. The Congress accused the BJP of actively encouraging and abetting the politics of “mobocracy” across the country.
The Left, feeling squeezed out in West Bengal with the election turning out to be a battle and a war of words between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP, accused both parties of creating the chaos.
Addressing the media in the national capital, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “A new politics, where mobocracy is being actively encouraged and abetted by the BJP in the country, has gained ground in the past five years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-led BJP is squarely responsible for systematically damaging the cultural identity of each state.”
Why EC invokes its special power
Article 324 of the Constitution deals with superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested with the Election Commission of India (EC). The unprecedented order of EC to restrict the campaign in West Bengal by 19 hours is on the premise that Article 324 empowers it to take all necessary steps to ensure free and fair elections. Parliament has enacted specific laws — the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and several other regulations — that also empower the poll panel to conduct free and fair elections. On any other area dealing with the issue of free and fair election, which is not covered by RP Act or other regulations, the EC invokes Article 324.
Singhvi alleged that the federal structure, respect for regional aspirations, culture, language, food habits and identity of indigenous people are “under attack” by the BJP in each state. “The BJP wants to exert its monolithic supremacy and bigoted agenda on each state, thus weakening the federal polity,” he said.
In a series of tweets, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hit out at both BJP and TMC: “BJP-TMC-created chaos is hitting at the heart of Bengal and its core. They cannot be allowed to get away with this…. It is an act of desperation where they have both revealed their destructive and unacceptable agenda…”
Yechury said the issue is not just the Vidyasagar statue but a systematic attack on Bengal. “These obscurantists have always opposed Vidyasagar’s ideas…. he stood for progress, path-breaking reform and enlightenment. It is very clear why the Sangh Parivar would seek destruction of his ideas,” he stated.