A day after the Election Commission cut short poll campaign duration in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday thanked top opposition leaders for backing her protest against the poll panel.

In a tweet addressed to SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati, TDP boss Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the Congress, Banerjee said that the EC has taken a biased decision “under directions of the BJP”.

“Thanks and gratitude to @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @INCIndia, @ncbn and others for expressing solidarity and support to us and the people of #Bengal. EC’s biased actions under the directions of the #BJP are a direct attack on democracy. People will give a befitting reply,” she tweeted.

 

On Wednesday, Banerjee had pointed out that the ECI decision is a “gift to BJP” because campaigning will now end after PM Modi addresses two meetings in Bengal.

A day after violence between BJP and the TMC workers in Kolkata, the poll panel on Wednesday cut short campaigning for the last round of voting in West Bengal.

Campaign in the remaining nine Lok Sabha seats – Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Calcutta South and Calcutta North – will end on Thursday 10 pm instead of Friday.

The decision was criticised by Yadav, Naidu, Mayawati and other opposition leaders.

“The EC’s decision to call off campaigning in Bengal is against all norms of democratic fair play. I fully support @MamataOfficial ji in her fight to stop the undemocratic march of the two and a half men who have used and abused every institution of our country for their own gain,” Yadav tweeted.

 

Slamming ECI for taking “prompt action” on the complaint by BJP and Amit Shah and “conveniently ignoring” the complaints of TMC, Naidu also accused the ECI of not acting on the complaint of 22 political parties of the opposition regarding the validation of EVM counting with the counting of at least 50% VVPAT slips in each assembly constituency.

“Giving clean chits to @narendramodi, taking unjustified prompt action after false complaints by @BJP4India, willful inaction on genuine complaints by opposition parties; clearly raises doubts about the neutrality, impartiality, and fairness of the Election Commission of India,” he wrote.

“It’s high time the ECI acts on the complaints made by opposition parties to restore its credibility and fulfill its constitutional mandate of conducting free and fair elections. The institutional integrity of the ECI & integrity of the democratic process of elections is at stake,” Naidu added.

 

Mayawati, in a series of tweets, blamed the BJP and RSS of the violence in Bengal and targeting the Mamata government to divert attention from their own failings.

 

The Election Commission invoked Article 324 for the first time in India’s electoral history in the wake of the clashes that broke out during BJP National President Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata.

Read More: Mamata Banerjee slams EC for curtailing Bengal campaign, says action ‘undemocratic, gift to BJP’

“The Commission is deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue of Vidyasagar. It is hoped that the vandals are traced by the state administration,” an ECI official told the media.

The ECI also removed West Bengal Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya and Additional Director General (CID) Rajeev Kumar with immediate effect after it received adverse reports and inputs from the state authorities.