There were mixed political reactions in West Bengal on Wednesday over Election Commission's decision to curtail campaigning for the remaining nine Lok Sabha seats of the state where polling is due for the last phase of general election on May 19.
In the wake of violence, the Election Commission today took an unprecedented step of cutting down on poll campaign in the state by a day as it ordered stoppage of electioneering from 10 pm on Thursday.
The EC invoked, for the first time, Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the poll panel special powers to control and give directions for holding elections.
Without questioning the EC decision, Bengal Congress President Soumen Mitra said: "We don't want to oppose the EC decision. Though our democratic rights have been curbed, we don't want to criticise the order seeing the law and order situation of the state, especially what happened yesterday (May 14)".
Mitra said that sensing the law and order failure, the EC took such a decision.
"It is EC's duty to ensure free and fair elections, but why are the criminals still roaming around? The EC has to guarantee that people are able to cast their vote fearlessly," he said.
BJP's West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh said: "It is unfortunate that the candidates did not get their stipulated time, but I think commission took the decision following lack of faith in the state administration."
He accused the Chief Minister of threatening rivals and talking about revenge.
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