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Anarchy: Jaitley backs EC's decision to ban campaigning in Bengal

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New Delhi, May 15: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday hailed the Election Commission (EC)'s decision to cut short election campaigning in West Bengal ahead of the seventh and final phase of elections as a declaration that the state is currently witnessing Anarchy.

File photo ofArun Jaitley

Taking to his Twitter handle, Jaitley wrote, "A free campaign is not possible and therefore the campaign has to be cut short. This is a classical case of breakdown of the Constitutional Machinery."

"A constitutional authority, the Election Commission of India, has effectively held Bengal to be a state in Anarchy. Repeatedly escalating violence, state supported Vandals, a partisan police and home department are the illustrations the ECI has given," he said.

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The EC today invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to prohibit election campaigning in nine constituencies of West Bengal from 10 pm on Thursday until the conclusion of the Lok Sabha polls on April 19.

It took the decision in view of clashes between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) over the last 24 hours, which resulted in largescale vandalism and damage to an iconic statue of 19th Century's social reformer Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar.

The EC directive means that campaigning in these constituencies will end nearly a day ahead of the actual 5 pm deadline on Friday.

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