The Election Commission took a "judicious" decision to ban campaigning in West Bengal from Thursday night and not morning as it was against abruptly taking away the right of political parties to seek votes but at the same time wanted violence to end ahead of May 19 polls, sources have said.
The commission has been under attack from political parties for not curtailing campaigning in nine Lok Sabha seats in the state from Thursday morning.
The opposition alleged that it was done to accommodate rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the state.
The campaigning in West Bengal ended at 10.00 PM Thursday. It was otherwise to end on Friday evening at 6.00 PM.
"We have a list. There were over 15 political rallies/ roadshows today by various parties and leaders. We could not have abruptly banned it. The idea was not to show our muscle. The idea was also not to muzzle the campaigning. The basic idea was to show that EC has its own ways to contain situations," a functionary explained.
He said a senior leader of a political party has been given the list of rallies in West Bengal on Thursday to drive home the point.
Meanwhile, sources denied reports that EC's special observers had recommended an "immediate ban" on campaigning in West Bengal. "It is factually incorrect. Their job is to give ground report. How would they know EC was contemplating ban using its constitutional powers," a functionary said.
The EC's action on Wednesday came a day after parts of Kolkata witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's massive road show in the city. A bust of 19th century Bengali icon Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was also vandalised during the violence. -- PTI