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As BJP, TMC trade charges, EC cuts short campaigning in West Bengal by 24 hrs


In an unusual development, Election Commission of India has cut short campaigning in West Bengal over allegations of increased election violence.

The Election Commission invoked its extraordinary powers under Article 324 of the Indian Constitution on Wednesday to announce that campaigning will end on May 16 24 hours before it was scheduled to end.

The campaign ban applies from Thursday, 10 pm.

The commission also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID, from their current postings in West Bengal.

The development came on a day when the Bharatiya Janata Party and West Bengal s ruling Trinamool Congress traded charges of violence over the saffron party s national president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday.

In a series of press briefings, the BJP and the TMC each accused the other of having engaged in rioting a day after clashes led to vandalising of a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, one of Bengal s most revered social reformers.

BJP also accused the Election Commission of being a mute spectator to the TMC's supposed involvement in violence in the state. The TMC, whose firebrand leader Mamata Banerjee the state s chief minister has been frequently posited as a contender for the prime ministerial position, in turn released a video that supposedly shows a group of BJP workers vandalising the statue.

An increase in election violence in West Bengal as India s mammoth elections come to a close has led to an increase in security.

Nine parliamentary seats of West Bengal are scheduled to vote in the last phase of general elections on May 19.


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