A delegation of Trinamool Congress leaders met the Election Commission in Delhi on Wednesday and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah be banned from campaigning for the remaining phases of the Assembly election in West Bengal since their “communal” speeches have violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the Representation of the People Act.
The party also registered a strong protest over the Election Commission’s decision to ban State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours for her comments about central forces following the death of four persons in a firing by the CISF in Sitalkuchi. “Such an act is mala fide, suffers from non-application of mind and is violation of her fundamental rights,” the party said in a memorandum submitted to the EC in Delhi.
The party once again reiterated its allegations of the EC acting on partisan lines. “ECI was formed under the Constitution of India to be an independent body that would monitor and conduct general elections in India. Neutrality is sine qua non in discharge of its functions but during this Assembly election, it is apparent that the ECI is acting in a partisan manner, absolutely in favour of the BJP and/or on its instructions, that is pre-announced by the BJP,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum also highlighted instances where, according to the Trinamool, Mr. Shah and Mr. Modi violated the model code of conduct and the Representation of People Act. The Trinamool said at a rally on April 12 in Kalyani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi singled out “Matua” and the “Namasudra” communities. He was accusing the Trinamool government and Ms. Banerjee of doing nothing for the two groups. The Trinamool, in its memorandum, said making an appeal for votes on “religious and communal lines by specifically appealing to the Matua and Namasudra communities” is a violation of the both the MCC and the Representation of People Act. The party said a comment in another speech on April 10 in Siliguri soon after the Sitalkuchi incident, in which Mr. Modi blamed Mamata Banerjee and her “gundas”, was an unverified allegation and a distortion.
The party accused Mr. Shah of invoking false narratives of caste discrimination when he accused the Trinamool of not “shedding tears” for the death of a youth from the Rajbongshi community.
“The ECI claims that it monitors speeches. However, it has not taken any action for such serious violations. For all the above, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah should be banned for campaigning for the remaining phases,” the party said in the memorandum.