A very very big news has just come in that the Election Commission has banned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours, beginning 8 pm today.
Mamata Banerjee has been banned from campaigning due to comments where she appealed for the Muslim community to vote along communal lines.
The ban has been imposed on her for urging the women to ‘gherao’ central security forces apart from “false allegations” that the security personnel may intimidate voters to cast their votes for a particular political party.
After she made a provocative appeal, unruly political activists tried to snatch the weapons of the CISF men during the 4th phase of the West Bengal Assembly Elections on the April 10. Four people had lost their lives as the security personnel were forced to act in self-defense.
In her response to the ban, Mamata Banerjee called Election Commission’s decision as undemocratic and unconstitutional
She also said she will sit on dharna tomorrow at Gandhi Murti, located in Kolkata from 12 noon.
Here I would like to make comments about the ban.
What is so undemocratic about this decision of the election commission. The body is well within its rights to ban Mamata Banerjee.
If she really thinks she is on the right side of the law, she can take the legal course, instead of making political comments. And, cent per cent, she would lose the case.
This is not the first time the election commission has banned a tall leader. It had banned Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BSP supremo Mayawati for violating the model code of conduct during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign.
Yogi Adityanath was barred from campaigning for three days and Mayawati for 48 hours.
Mayawati was banned for her speech in Deoband appealing to Muslims to not vote for a particular party.
Yogi Adityanath was served the notice for his “Ali” and “Bajrang Bali” remarks while addressing a rally in Meerut.
The EC had also barred Amit Shah and Azam Khan from holding public meetings in Uttar Pradesh, during the 2014 Lok Saha election campaign.
They were found guilty of giving inflammatory speeches.
So, what EC did against Mamata Banerjee is nothing undemocratic, but the election body was doing its duty.
Now the question is can this decision change the shape of the discourse for the rest of the campaign.
I don’t think so. The ban is for 24 hours, and she has decided to stage a dharna, which she will use it to her advantage, knowing fully well that all the television cameras will be focussing on her the whole day.
Instead of rueing over the ban, Mamata Banerjee should celebrate that the media focus tomorrow will be on her the entire day.