Kolkata (West Bengal): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure the Lok Sabha election in the state is completed in a peaceful manner without any “undue interference” from the Centre.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Banerjee requested the poll body to “protect democratic institutions and federal structure of the country and extend due respect to the opposition parties.”
“West Bengal has seen a number of illegal, unconstitutional and biased decisions during the election process because of undue influence of the central government. As a result, not only the state government administration and its officers but also the common people of the state have been harassed and attacked in various manners,” she said.
She has also alleged that BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow was a “criminal conspiracy” to vandalise the heritage of Kolkata and West Bengal.
“It may be recalled that all evidence shows that the roadshow of the BJP president in Kolkata on May 14 was permitted by way of withdrawing Section 144 in the area by the New Commissioner of Police appointed by the EC,” Banerjee said in the letter.
The roadshow was itself a deliberate, intentional and a criminal conspiracy to vandalise the culture and heritage of Kolkata and West Bengal and also to defame the state government and its people,” the TMC supremo said.
Banerjee said that her party had approached the EC over the appointment of two special observers, which was not in accordance with the law and showed “partisan attitude” and complied with the Centre “time and again,” but added that “no justice has been done.”
Campaigning in West Bengal was cut short by a day on Thursday evening after violence marred Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. During the violence, a bust of iconic social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, was vandalised at a college named after him.
Both BJP and TMC have been trading allegations against each other for inciting violence.
Nine parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal — Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, South Kolkata, and North Kolkata will witness polling on Sunday (May 12). The counting of votes for all 42 seats in the state will take place on May 23.