EC relieves Bengal home secretary, calls early halt to campaigning
16 May 2019
In perhaps the first serious action against poll violence, the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday relieved West Bengal home secretary Atri Bhattacharya of his duties and asked state chief secretary to handle the additional responsibility.
Bhattacharya is accused of interfering in the election process in West Bengal by “directing the CEO (Chief Election Officer) vide his letter dated May 13, 2019”, the Election Commission said. It asked the chief secretary to send a compliance report latest by 10 am on Thursday.
In the wake of violence between TMC workers and the BJP in Kolkata and elsewhere, the EC also invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to order an end to campaigning in nine constituencies in the state at 10 pm on Thursday night, a day ahead of schedule.
Polling in these constituencies is scheduled to take place as part of the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, on 19 May.
The EC also relieved Rajiv Kumar, Additional Director-General, CID, from duty and directed him to report to the union ministry of home affairs latest by 10 am on Thursday.
Kumar, who was previously the Kolkata Police Commissioner, was facing a CBI enquiry in connection with the chit fund scam in Bengal.
BJP and TMC clashed in Kolkata after the TMC supporters pelted stones at a BJP rally led by its president Amit Shah. BJP hit back and Amit Shah’s massive road show turned into a spectre of massive violence.
Mamata Banerjee blamed Amit Shah for the violence and accused the Election Commission of dancing to BJP’s tune.