West Bengal

West Bengal Assembly Elections | Mamata Banerjee holds silent protest against Election Commission ban

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee sits on dharna near Gandhi Statue on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Subham Dutta

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday sat on a silent dharna near the Gandhi Statue at Esplanade in Kolkata to protest against the Election Commission of India’s order, barring her from campaigning for 24 hours.

The ban came into effect at 8 p.m. on Monday. A few minutes before noon, Ms. Banerjee arrived at the venue on a wheelchair. Sitting by a table piled with books, at times she was seen painting and holding up her work for hundreds of supporters.

Three hours later, Ms. Banerjee left the site at about 3 p.m. 

Several hundred TMC supporters, including many women kept vigil in silence at the protest site with Ms. Banerjee amid a large deployment of police personnel. 

Within minutes of the ECI order on Monday, Ms. Banerjee had announced her decision to stage a dharna. “To protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional decision of the Election Commission of India, I will sit on dharna tomorrow at Gandhi Murti, Kolkata from 12 noon.” 

The Trinamool Congress chief was scheduled to address four rallies in the day — two in Nadia and two in North 24 Parganas — which had to be cancelled because of the EC order. However, she is scheduled to address public meetings at Barasat and Bidhannagar later in the evening. 

On Wednesday Ms. Banerjee will visit Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar where five persons died in two separate incidents of firing on April 10. Ms. Banerjee will later hold public meetings in north Bengal. 

In a five-page order on Monday, the EC expressed dissatisfaction at Mamata Banerjee response to the notices it had sent to her on April 7 and April 8, for violation of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct, Section 123(3) and (3A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 among others. 

 The ECI notice to Ms Banerjee was on April 7 was on her remarks where she urged people of minority community not to allow any split of votes and on April 8 on remarks directed towards central forces where she asked people to surround (gherao) central forces. 

Ms. Banerjee had earlier sat on a dharna in February 2019 when the Central Bureau of Investigation came knocking at the doors of then Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. 

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:50:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/wb-assembly-polls-mamata-stages-dharna-in-kolkata-to-protest-against-ecs-campaign-ban/article34309254.ece

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