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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Grand statue of Vidyasagar is PM Modi’s answer to CM Mamata’s latest election pitch

Meanwhile, the Election Commission in the evening of Wednesday, a day following the act of desecration of the Vidyasagar bust, ordered a premature stop on campaigning in West Bengal

Kolkata/New Delhi: Following the desecration of a bust of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar at the Vidyasagar College of Kolkata, the Trinamool, led by West Bengal Chief Minister, had latched on the opportunity to appeal for votes in the name of Bengali pride. While the Trinamool and BJP are blaming each other for the act of vandalism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday promised to build a grand statue of the iconic scholar after a fresh BJP-led NDA government is formed.

“We saw hooliganism by Trinamool workers again during bhai Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. They vandalized Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s statue. Such people should face strong action,” the prime minister said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau that is situated in the Purvanchal region that has a cultural affinity with Bihar and Bengal.

“We are committed to Vidyasagar’s vision and will install his grand statue made of panchadhatu (five metals) at the same spot,” promised Prime Minister Modi.

In the meantime, Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien has posted a series of videos and accusations on Twitter, trying to establish that BJP workers were behind the desecrating act. BJP’s social media head Amit Malviya has, at the same time, furnished counter-arguments to rubbish the charge and blame the Trinamool instead.

Most importantly, the Election Commission in the evening of Wednesday, a day following the act of desecration of the Vidyasagar bust, ordered a premature stop on campaigning in West Bengal. Instead of the normal 48-h embargo on campaigning before a poll in that area, there is now, in effect, a 72-h gap between the end of campaigns by political parties and the seventh and last phase of the Lok Sabha election, 2019.

The commission has cited in its order Article 324 of the Constitution that gives it the powers of “superintendence, direction and the control of elections”.

The commission said it was “deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue” of a cultural icon who, “besides his many other achievements as a philosopher, academic educator, writer and philanthropist, worked all his life in the cause of widow remarriage which was unthought and unheard of in the ultra-conservative society in those days.”

The commission also relieved Rajeev Kumar from his duty as additional director general of the CID in West Bengal. Kumar was earlier involved in the CBI-versus-Bengal government fracas over the State’s alleged chit fund scams.

Further, the commission relieved IAS officer Atri Bhattacharya from the post of principal secretary, home and hill affairs, for “having interfered in the process of conducting the election…”

Irked by the development, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has questioned why the commission left enough room for Prime Minister Modi to conduct his rally late on Thursday.

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