The Election Commission on Tuesday banned the gathering of five or more people under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in West Bengal’s Bhabanipur constituency, where bye-polls will be held on Thursday, reported the Hindustan Times.

The prohibitory orders came into effect at 6.30 pm on Tuesday and will remain till the end of polling in the seat that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party had met the Election Commission officials demanding prohibitory orders be imposed in the area and central forces be deployed to ensure the order is complied with, reported PTI.

The delegation comprising Union ministers Bhupender Yadav, Anurag Thakur and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had also accused the Trinamool Congress of using violence against the saffron party’s supporters.

After the meeting, Yadav tweeted saying that the attack on party’s former state unit chief Dilip Ghosh and other BJP workers was shameful. “We demand strict action as Mamata Banerjee and TMC have no respect for democracy and the rule of law,” he tweeted.

BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters were involved in a scuffle on Monday afternoon during a door-to-door campaign undertaken by Ghosh. The BJP had claimed that Ghosh was “kicked, pushed and heckled” by Trinamool Congress supporters.

Bhabanipur bye-polls

Banerjee needs to get elected as an MLA by the first week of November in order to continue as the chief minister.

In the West Bengal Assembly elections held earlier this year, Banerjee had contested from the Nandigram seat in an apparent bid to challenge Suvendu Adhikari, who had defected to the BJP ahead of the polls. Banerjee had lost to Adhikari by a margin of 1,956 votes and had alleged fraud in vote counting.

The BJP has fielded lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal against Banerjee for the bye-polls.

Earlier in the day, the Calcutta High Court had allowed the Bhabanipur bye-poll to be held as scheduled, refusing to stay the decision of the Election Commission to conduct the bye-election on priority.

The Election Commission, while announcing the date of the Bhabanipur bye-election, had said that it scheduled the election on that date considering the “constitutional exigency and special request” from the West Bengal government.

The poll panel took the decision after Chief Secretary HK Dwiwedi wrote to it saying that there would be a constitutional crisis if the bye-election was not held.

Votes for the Bhabanipur bye-election will be counted on October 3.