Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will "protest the undemocratic and unconstitutional decision of the Election Commission" - to hand her a 24-hour ban - at noon today.
The Chief Minister's sharp tweet came less than an hour after the poll body suspended her from campaigning - as she seeks to defeat the BJP in an election that is balanced on a knife's edge - over comments on Muslim votes and those allegedly urging a revolt against central security forces.
"To protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional decision of the Election Commission of India, I will sit on dharna tomorrow (today) at Gandhi Murti (in) Kolkata from 12 noon," she tweeted late Monday night, hours after outgoing Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora issued his order.
To protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional decision of the Election Commission of India, I will sit on dharna tomorrow at Gandhi Murti, Kolkata from 12 noon.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 12, 2021
Ms Banerjee's Trinamool Congress was more forceful in its critique of the order and the Commission, which it dubbed "Extremely Compromised"; party leader Derek O'Brien tweeted that swipe, and followed it up with: "April 12. BLACK DAY in our democracy".
EC stands for Extremely Compromised.— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) April 12, 2021
April 12.— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) April 12, 2021
BLACK DAY in our democracy.
Mamata Banerjee, 66, was served two notices last week.
She was asked to explain parts of election speeches made on March 28 and April 7, during both of which she allegedly accused central forces of intimidating voters and urged women to hit back.
"Who gave so much power to them that central police are threatening the women without allowing them to cast their votes..." she said in the March rally.
In the April speech she made what the Commission called "highly objectionable remarks" about the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF).
She was also asked to explain comments "openly demanding votes on communal grounds".
Reacting to that notice, she said: "You (EC) can issue 10 show-cause notices to me, but my reply will be the same. I will always speak against any division in Hindu, Muslim votes."
Ms Banerjee has a running feud with the Election Commission - which she has accused of ignoring transgressions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and failing to maintain law and order - in this election.
She was earlier warned over a "factually incorrect" complaint about voting in Nandigram, where she faces her aide-turned-BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari in a high-profile contest.
The results of the eight-phase Bengal election will be declared May 2.