Painting Keeps Mamata Busy During Dharna Against EC’s Campaign Ban

The Quint
·2-min read

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, 13 April, began a dharna at Gandhi Murti in Kolkata, as a mark of protest after the Election Commission of India’s 24-hour ban on her preventing her from campaigning.

The CM arrived at the Mayo Road venue in Kolkata on a wheelchair around 11:30 am, and appeared to be keeping herself busy by painting during the dharna.

The Gandhi Murti area is under the jurisdiction of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command, which said that it had not yet issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the Trinamool for the sit-in protest. It informed that though the party had applied for the certificate at 9:40 am, it was still under process.

On Monday, the Election Commission imposed a 24-hour campaigning ban on Mamata Banerjee for her "highly insinuating" and "provocative remarks", which the poll body said were laden with “serious potential of breakdown of law and order”. The EC notice, issued by outgoing Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, was over Banerjee's comments on Muslim votes and those, which allegedly urged action against central security forces.

Less than an hour after her suspension order, the CM called the ban undemocratic and unconstitutional, and voiced her protest against the EC’s notice by announcing a dharna.

The ban comes as polling for the high-stakes West Bengal Assembly elections is taking place across eight phases, with voting having concluded in four.

Also Read: ‘Party Crossing All Lines’: PM Modi Takes a Dig at Mamata, TMC

The EC’s Ban

The EC, accusing the CM of "selective amnesia", noted that Mamata violated provisions under the Model Code of Conduct, Sections 123(3) and (3A) of the Representation of the People Act, and 1951 and 186, 189 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

“The commission hereby condemns such statements portent with serious law and order problems across the state and sternly warns Ms Banerjee and advises her to desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct is in force,” the notice read.

The ban will be in force from 8 pm on 12 April till 8 pm on 13 April.

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