West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a press conference on Wednesday in the wake of recent poll violence in Kolkata.
The Election Commission has cut short poll campaigning in West Bengal by 24 hours. Campaigning will now end at 10 pm on Thursday, 16 May.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury questioned EC’s decision and asked if the poll body had set the time to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address two rallies in the state in the afternoon.
Earlier on Thursday, Mamata took Kolkata by storm as she and a sea of TMC supporters hit the streets to protest the violence in BJP President Amit Shah’s rally on Tuesday that led to vandals destroying the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in a college.
PM Modi, while addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Basirhat on Wednesday said that Mamata Banerjee got BJP President Amit Shah’s rally attacked to ‘get revenge’.
Earlier, PM Modi, in a conversation with CNN-News18, slammed Mamata Banerjee and the TMC for violence in Amit Shah’s rally on Tuesday, and questioned why the people who talk of democracy and call themselves ‘neutral’ are silent on the matter.
The BJP and the TMC fought high pitched battles on the streets of Kolkata during a massive road show by Shah on Tuesday, leading to the destruction of Vidyasagar’s statue in a college. Shah alleged that Trinamool Congress workers vandalised the statue of Vidyasagar to gain sympathy and create unrest during his rally.
Shameful Fall for Once-Independent EC: Congress
The Congress came down heavily on the Election Commission on Wednesday after its decision to cut short the campaign period in West Bengal, saying it has been a “shameful fall for a once-independent constitutional body”.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the use of Article 324 by the EC is an “unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution” as the poll body has failed to maintain a level-playing field.
He alleged that the poll panel had failed to act on his party’s complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
EC’s Decision Will Hurt Us the Most, But Won’t Question It: Mukul Roy
Late on Wednesday evening, BJP leader and ex-TMC leader Mukul Roy addressed a press conference in Kolkata, saying that the Election Commission takes specific decisions in specific instances of poll complaints. The EC’s decision this time will hurt us the most, but the party will not question the poll body’s decision, Roy said.
“I have no opinion about what decision the EC has taken, it is their own decision. They have done what they think is right. We have also lost time to campaign because of their decision. Why is she so scared?”
Calling it a criminal conspiracy against Amit Shah and BJP, he also said that the BJP was not involved in the vandalism of Vidyasagar’s bust. “Vidyasagar belongs to the whole country, don’t own him as just West Bengal’s. He belongs to India and he is respected by everyone in the country. BJP has no hand in vandalising Vidyasagar’s bust. This is a criminal conspiracy against Amit Shah and BJP,” he said.
Roy also said that Mamata had lied about one of the men who had apparently been injured in the clashes by the name of Tirtha Pratim Shah. He claimed that Pratim had not broken his arm in the clashes as claimed by Mamata, but had injured it three days prior to the incident. He accused Mamata of bringing him to the press conference to “add drama”.
Vandalisation of Vidyasagar’s Bust Politically Motivated: Sachin Pilot
Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Wednesday condemned the vandalisation of a bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, saying it is a politically motivated step ahead of elections.
“It is a politically motivated move to break the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. We condemn such an incident,” Pilot said at a rally, PTI reported.
Asserting that there is a “wave of change” across the country, Pilot said the BJP’s “desperate” bid to “polarise” voters by raising emotive issues will not pay any dividend.
Chhattisgarh BJP Holds ‘Peace March’ Against Mamata Banerjee, TMC
BJP’s Chhattisgarh unit on Wednesday took out a ‘peace march’ in Raipur to protest against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Large number of BJP leaders and workers, wearing black bands, took part in the peace rally commenced from the party’s capital office ‘Ekatma Parisar’ and culminated at the Town Hall, PTI reported.
Yechury Questions Timing of EC’s Campaigning Ban in WB
Questioning the Election Commission’s decision to end campaigning in West Bengal from 10 pm on Thursday, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury asked if the poll body had set the time to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address two rallies in the state in the afternoon.
“If a ban is intended for 72 hours, why is it starting at 10 pm tomorrow? Is it to allow the two rallies of the PM before that?” Yechury tweeted shortly after the EC’s announcement.
Modi is scheduled to address rallies in Laxmikantapur and Dum Dum in West Bengal.
“The decision by the EC to stop campaigning a day in advance is not understood. The first thing being expected by EC was action against the lumpen elements of BJP and TMC for violence yesterday. Why has no action been initiated?” the CPI(M) leader asked.
WB Governor Keshari Nath Condemns Violence
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Wednesday condemned the vandalising of the Vidyasagar statue and said the culprits should be traced and punished.
Tripathi is also the chancellor of the Calcutta University to which the Vidyasagar College is affiliated.
He said a new bust of the great social reformer of Bengal should immediately be installed and the Calcutta University should take initiative to it.
Bengal Will Fight This Battle Boldly: Mamata
Replying to a question at the press conference, Mamata Banerjee said that the people of West Bengal will fight the battle against BJP boldly.
EC Rewarded BJP For Vandalism
Mamata took a jibe at the Election Commission saying that Election Commission has rewarded BJP and Amit Shah for desecrating Vidyasagar’s bust.
We Did Not Witness This Sort of Rioting After Babri Demolition: Mamata
Lashing out at the BJP for inciting violence in the state, the West Bengal CM said that the sort of rioting BJP resorted to on Wednesday, was not witnessed even after Babri mosque demolition.
‘Why Didn’t EC Impose Ban Before Modi’s Rally,’ Counters Mamata
Accusing the EC of being biased, Mamata said that if the campaigning had to be cut short, why didn’t the poll panel end campaigning today itself. “They are allowing campaigning on Thursday as Modi is supposed to hold two meetings tomorrow,” she said.
EC Working Under BJP’s Decision: Mamata
Addressing the media after EC’s decision to curtail poll campaigning in West Bengal, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the poll panel is working under BJP’s instructions.
Top WB Officials Relieved from Duty: EC
A day before the scheduled deadline, the Election Commission said the ADG CID, Rajeev Kumar “stands relieved” and report to Ministry of Home Affairs.
The EC also removed IAS officer Atri Bhattacharya from the post of Principal Secretary (Home) from “having interfered in the process of conducting the election”.
It also said the Chief Secretary will look after Home Department.
EC Cuts Short Poll Campaigning in West Bengal By 24 Hours
In view of recent violence in West Bengal, the Election Commission has cut short poll campaigning in West Bengal by 24 hours.
Campaigning will now end at 10 pm on Thursday, 16 May, instead of 17 May, as per normal schedule. Addressing the media, the EC said that this is the first time the commission has invoked Article 324 in this manner.
It further said that the EC is “deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar.”
“It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration,” it added.
Union Ministers Submit Memorandum to VP Over West Bengal Violence
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar , after meeting Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said that a delegation of Union Ministers has submitted a memorandum to Naidu over clashes in West Bengal.
“Protection of Rajya Sabha members is responsibility of house and Chairman. We’ve submitted a memorandum to VP on it and demanded that a report be sought and appropriate action be taken,” he said.
Yogi Adityanath Condemns Violence at Shah’s Rally
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accused TMC of breaking the bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and said his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee is trying to divert attention by spreading canards against BJP.
“We condemn the incident that happened yesterday. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was one of greatest sons of India and a social reformer. It was the TMC which broke his bust and it now blaming BJP to divert the attention,” Adityanath said at a press conference
BJP-RSS Opposed to Vidyasagar’s Ideas: Yechury
Accusing the BJP-RSS of systematically attacking Bengal and its ethos, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the saffron party was opposed to the very ideas propagated by social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, whose statue was desecrated in the violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata.
“Not about just a statue, but a systematic attack on Bengal. One of the biggest symbols of the Bengal renaissance is what BJP-RSS have attacked. These obscurantists have always opposed Vidyasagar’s ideas. But Bengal will not succumb,” Yechury tweeted.
EC Has Become a Mute Spectator: Amit Shah
BJP chief Amit Shah blamed West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress for violence during his roadshow in Kolkata and accused the Election Commission of “double standards” for remaining a “mute spectator” to rigging and violation of the poll code in the state.
“I want to tell the Election Commission that it has become a mute spectator to attempts to rig polls in West Bengal. It should immediately intervene. History-sheeters…are arrested during elections across the country. In Bengal, they are released after furnishing a bond. What is this double standards from the EC? Why is it silent,” he asked.
Shiv Sena Slams Violence in Amit Shah’s Rally
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday slammed the West Bengal government over the attack on BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, describing the incident as “unfortunate” for the country’s democracy.
Talking to reporters, Raut, who is the Rajya Sabha MP, said there can be no restrictions on anyone to campaign anywhere the country.
“West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not want Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in Bengal. Did anyone stop Mamata from campaigning in Gujarat?” Raut asked.
BJP Ministers to Meet Vice President: ANI Sources
Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, Muqtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Goel, Anil Baluni, GVL Narsimha Rao, and Rakesh Sinha to meet Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu at his residence over clashes during BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata, ANI reported quoting sources.
TMC Supporters Hit Kolkata Streets With Mamata
Mamata Flexes Muscle as TMC Supporters Hit Kolkata Streets
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee arrived at the venue of the padyatra in Kolkata to protest against the violence that took place in BJP President Amit Shah’s rally on Tuesday, leading to vandals destroying the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
TMC Delegation Arrives at Election Commission Office
The TMC delegation, lead by Derek O’Brien, arrives at the Election Commission’s Office in Delhi to ‘submit proof’ that BJP ‘goons’ were the ones who vandalised the bust of Vidyasagar in a college.
Mamata Banerjee Attacked Amit Shah’s Convoy to Take Revenge
PM Modi, while addressing a rally in West Bengal’s Basirhat, said that Mamata Banerjee got Amit Shah’s rally attacked ‘to get revenge’.
“Mamata didi had declared publicly two days ago that she will take revenge. She fulfilled her agenda within 24 hours, BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow was attacked,” he said.
“Didi (Mamata) will lose in West Bengal, and knows this. Hence she is angry and is unleashing violence,” he said.
Massive Police Deployment Ahead of Mamata’s Padyatra
Security has been beefed up as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to hold a padyatra from Gandhi Bhavan in Beleghata right up to Shyambazaar.
The TMC has put up placards that have a picture of the vandalised Vidyasagar statue along with the words “Chhi! Chhi! (Shame! Shame!) printed next to it.
‘Challenge Derek O’Brien to Prove I Was There’: Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga
Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga of the BJP, who was detained for allegedly being a part of the mob that incited violence in Kolkata on Tuesday challenged the TMC to prove he was anywhere at the scene.
“Nobody takes Derek O Brien seriously. I challenge him if he can prove that I was within 500 metres of the spot where violence broke out. I will leave politics if I am proved wrong or else he should leave politics if he fails to prove the charge,” he said.
Central Forces in Cahoots with BJP in Bengal?: TMC
TMC leader Derek O’Brien briefed the media over the violence that broke out in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s rally and alleged that the Central forces are in cahoots with the BJP in Bengal.
“Anybody can come and do a procession, but what were the outsiders…Who is this fellow Tejinder Bagga? Who is he? He was arrested, is he not the same guy who slapped somebody in Delhi? You have taken in your outsider goons ,” said O’Brien.
” We have two more pictures to show, this is to do with the elections, we have nothing personally against the Central forces, we have two startling pictures to expose what we have been saying that the Central forces are in cahoots with the BJP in Bengal,” he said.
O’Brien also showed a video claiming “BJP goons” damaged statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. “Video not only clearly establishes what the BJP did, but proves party chief Amit Shah is a liar,” he said.
O’Brien also said that the TMC was trying to authenticate audio of slogans like ‘Vidyasagar finished, where is the Josh’ allegedly raised during the violence. He also showed a video, WhatsApp message asking people to come to Amit Shah’s roadshow with rods and arms to fight the TMC and police.
TMC Student’s Wing Protest in Kolkata
TMC’s student wing protests against the vandalisation of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue during clashes in BJP Chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in the city .
Why Are ‘Neutrals’ Silent on Bengal Violence?: Modi
PM Modi, in a conversation with CNN-News18, slammed Mamata Banerjee and the TMC for violence in the rally of BJP party President Amit Shah on Tuesday and questioned why the people who talk of democracy and call themselves ‘neutral’ silent on the matter.
BJP Ministers, Workers Hold Protest Rally at Jantar Mantar
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, along with BJP supporters held protests at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
BJP Holds Protest in Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds protest against violence in BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, Jitendra Singh and Vijay Goel also present.
Left Parties Protest Against Destruction of Vidyasagar Statue
Left parties hold protests against the destruction of the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in Kolkata.
Union Ministers, BJP Workers Hold Protest in Delhi
BJP holds protest against violence in BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday. Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, Jitendra Singh and Vijay Goel are present.
Mamata, TMC Leaders Make Vidyasagar Their Display Pictures on Social Media
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several top TMC leaders have changed their Facebook and Twitter display picture (DP) with photo of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on Wednesday to protest the desecration of the bust of the noted reformer and key figure of the Bengal Renaissance.
Trinamool Congress’s official profile on Twitter and Facebook was also changed with a picture of Vidyasagar.
‘TMC Vandalised Vidyasagar’s Statue to Gain Sympathy’: Amit Shah
BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday, 15 May alleged that TMC workers vandalised statue of Bengali writer and philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to gain sympathy and create unrest in his rally.
“Had CRPF not been there, it would have been really difficult for me to escape. BJP workers were beaten up, TMC can go to any extent. I was lucky to have escaped,” he said.
Protests by BJP, TMC & Left
The BJP supporters will hold protests at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, while the TMC supporters led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be protesting in Kolkata on Wednesday, 15 May.
Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on BJP President Amit Shah asking if he were a god that no one can protest against him.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation led by Mukul Roy will meet the governor at 11:30 am on Wednesday.
‘I Am Not an Outsider; Have Come Here to Campaign for BJP’: Amit Shah
BJP President Amit Shah has rebutted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s charge that he is an “outsider” in West Bengal and said he has come to the state to campaign for his party.
Shah wondered if he is called an outsider for coming to West Bengal, “which is very much a part of India”, then why not Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee be labelled as an “outsider” when she visits New Delhi?
The BJP leader was addressing a meet of intellectuals in the city on Tuesday, 14 May.
“I am president of a national party and I am here to campaign for my party.
“I am being called an outsider for coming to West Bengal. What kind of statement is this? If a person from West Bengal goes to Mumbai or Bengaluru, will he be called an outsider? When Mamata didi goes to Delhi will she be called an outsider?” Shah asked.
Shah’s remarks came following Banerjee’s repeated allegations about Shah being an “outsider” who comes to the state to “create division” among the people.