Here are the day’s election-related developments at a glance
Mamata thanks opposition leaders for backing her
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday thanked the leaders of opposition parties, who came out in her support as she protested against the Election Commission’s decision to cut short the poll campaign duration in the state.
“Thanks and gratitude to @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @INCIndia, @ncbn and others for expressing solidarity and support to us and the people of #Bengal. EC’s biased actions under the directions of the #BJP are a direct attack on democracy. People will give a befitting reply,” she tweeted.
The poll panel on Wednesday cut short campaigning for the last round of voting in West Bengal, in the wake of violence between the BJP and the TMC workers in Kolkata.
The campaign closing time has been advanced to Thursday 10 p.m. in the nine Lok Sabha seats – Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Calcutta South and Calcutta North.
Accusing the Election Commission of acting on the instructions of the BJP, Banerjee said the move was “unethical and unconstitutional”.
BJP, Congress sweat it out to capture Parrikar’s Panaji
After the elections for Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats, the BJP and the Congress are preparing for a face-off in the bypoll for Panaji Assembly constituency, which was held by former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
The bypoll was necessitated after Parrikar’s death in March.
Refusing ticket to the late Chief Minister’s son, Utpal, the BJP has fielded former MLA Siddharth Kunkolienkar. Kunkolienkar has represented the seat in the absence of Parrikar in 2015 and 2017 assembly elections, when the latter was the Union defence minister.
He is pitted against Congress’s Antanasio Monserratte, a former minister in state governments led by Parrikar and Digambar Kamat.
Mayawati comes out in support of Mamata, says EC acting under pressure
Rallying behind Mamata Banerjee, BSP supremo Mayawati Thursday charged that the West Bengal chief minister is being targeted as part of a conspiracy to divert attention from failures of the Modi government.
It is now clear that under the present Chief Election Commissioner, Lok Sabha polls are not being held in a totally free and fair manner, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister told reporters here.
The Election Commission curtailed campaigning in West Bengal under pressure of central government, she further charged.
The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered campaigning in nine West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 p.m. on Thursday, a day before its scheduled deadline, in the wake of violence between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata.
EC lost its independence, time to review process of its appointment: Congress
Accusing the Election Commission of losing its credibility and independence, the Congress on Thursday said time has come to review the process of the poll panel’s appointment.
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the order prohibiting campaigning in West Bengal by 20 hours is a “dark spot” on India’s democracy and institutions like the Election Commission.
“Election Commission has completely abdicated its Constitutional duty under Art 324 to ensure level playing field, besides negating the due process under Article 14 and 21 of India’s Constitution,” he told reporters.
“The time has come to review the process of appointment of Election Commission,” he said, calling for a national debate on the issue.
The Congress, a responsible political party, has never cast unwarranted aspersions on the actions of Constitutional bodies, Surjewala said.
“But we are deeply saddened to say that Election Commission of India has completely lost its independence and abdicated its Constitutional integrity,” the Congress leader added.
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