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West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates: Poll violence will end in state after BJP comes to power, says Amit Shah

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 LIVE Updates: Speaking in Santipur, the BJP leader lashed out at the West Bengal chief minister for not condoning the death of Ananda Barman

Amit Shah speaking to media in West Bengal’s Santipur. ANI

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 Latest Updates: Speaking in Santipur, Union Home Minister Amit Shah lashed out at Mamata Banerjee over the violence in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of election on Saturday. “I promise that after BJP comes to power here political and poll-related violence will end in Bengal,” he said.

Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah holds a roadshow in Nadia district’s Santipur.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged the Election Commission has restricted the entry of politicians in the district for 72 hours as it seeks to “suppress facts”. The TMC supremo, while addressing a press meet in Siliguri, claimed that central forces “sprayed bullets aiming at the torso of the victims” in Sitalkuchi area, when the fourth phase of polling was underway in the state.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday termed the violence in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of Assembly polls on Saturday as “genocide”.

Four people were killed in the Cooch Behar district as CISF  personnel opened fire allegedly when they were attacked by locals who “attempted to snatch their rifles” during the fourth phase of voting on Saturday.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday tweeted,” EC should rename MCC as Modi Code of Conduct! BJP can use all its might but NOTHING in this world can stop me from being with my people and sharing their pain. They can restrict me from visiting my brothers and sisters in Cooch Behar for 3 days but I WILL be there on the 4th day!”

The poll panel on Saturday barred the entry of politicians in Cooch Behar district for 72 hours to prevent any possible law and order flare-up, after four people were killed in the district as central forces opened fire allegedly when they were attacked by locals who “attempted to snatch their rifles” during the fourth phase of voting.

Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah will hold three roadshows, two townhall meetings and one public meeting at various places in West Bengal on Sunday, the party said in a tweet.

Invoking its Constitutional powers, the Election Commission on Saturday put in place certain restrictions, including extending the “silence period” from 48 hours to 72 hours, for the fifth phase of polling in West Bengal after violence in Cooch Behar district.

It also barred the entry of politicians in Cooch Behar district for the next 72 hours to prevent any possible law and order flare-up.

The decision came after four people were killed in the district as central forces opened fire allegedly when they were attacked by locals who “attempted to snatch their rifles” during the fourth phase of voting on Saturday.

“The Election Commission of India further directs that the silence period for phase 5 (i.e. for polls scheduled on 17 April) shall be extended to 72 hours and no campaigning shall be permitted during 72 hours before the close of the poll in order to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections,” an EC order said.

A total of 45 seats will go to the polls in the fifth phase in West Bengal.

The silence period — when public campaigning including rallies, meetings and press conferences cannot take place — is generally for 48 hours.

The order also said that in Cooch Behar, comprising nine assembly constituencies (AC numbers 1 to 9) where voting will be over by Saturday, no political leader from any national, state or other party should be allowed to enter the geographical boundaries of the district for the next 72 hours.

“This comes into force with immediate effect,” the poll panel said.

The commission said it is issuing the order using its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India. It also cited some Supreme Court rulings to support its decision to use constitutional powers.

The order also cited a joint report of its two special observers Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dube.

The report said that recourse to open fire by the CISF personnel became “absolutely necessary” in order to save the lives of the voters lined up at the polling booth, those of other polling personnel and their own lives as the mob had attempted snatching their weapons also.

The order also said the special observers had not received the reports of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police (SP) of Cooch Behar well after 5 pm though TV channels had been quoting the SP as saying since 3 pm that the CISF men opened fire “purely” in self defence.

The order said it has been brought to the EC’s notice that the last rites of the four persons killed in firing had still not been completed and that some political leaders may visit the area “with the ostensible purpose of condoling the bereaved families which however, has the potent to cause a law and order problem of major proportions in this place as well as the adjoining places”.

It also said since the firing happened in a confrontation with CISF, “the chances of central forces deployed in this area becoming or being made the butt of further grave provocation by groups of people cannot also be ruled out”.

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