Election 2019: Poll related violence compels ECI to prohibit campaigning in West Bengal

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New Delhi: After a series of poll-related violent incidents, including large-scale stone pelting, arson and rioting, the scuffle between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party workers during BJP President Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata on Tuesday, the Election Commission has stepped in and to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in West Bengal issued orders under Article 324 of the Constitution and all other enabling powers to bring down the curtain on campaigning in nine West Bengal parliamentary constitencies going to poll on 19 May.

After considering the inputs received from West Bengal, ECI has issued directives on Wednesday, 15 May 2019, to relieve Rajeev Kumar, IPS, ADG, CID, with imemdiate effect and attached him to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi by 10.00 am on 16 May 2019.

The Election Commission has also relieved Atri Bhattacharya, lAS, Principal Secretary, Home & Hill
Affairs, Government of West Bengal from the charge he was holding for having interfered in the process of conducting the election by directing the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal vide his D.O. letter
No.629/HS/PA/19 on 13.05.2019.

The West Bengal Chief Secretary will look after the additional charge of Home Secretary, West Bengal.

The Constitution in Article 324 has vested the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections to Parliament and State Legislatures and to the office of the President and Vice-President of India in the ECI.

On Wednesday, the authorities after delaying its response to a Supreme Court order, released on bail BJP activist Priyanka Sharma, who had been arrested two days ago for sharing a meme of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Mamata meme

The ECI has directed that no person shall convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election or display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus, or propagate any election matter to the public by holding or by arranging the holding of any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public in connection with the ongoing elections in West Bengal.

The ECI order says that no spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquors or other substances of a like nature shall be sold, given or distributed at a hotel, eating house, tavern shop or any other place, public or private, within polling areas in nine West Bengal constituencies – Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar till the conclusion of poll on 19 May 2019.

Click here for ECI order to prohibit campaign by all political parties in West Bengal

Click here for ECI order to relieve West Bengal officers of their charge with immediate effect

The letter that led to the immediate removal of the Principal Secretary Home and Hill Affairs, Government of West Bengal

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