As West Bengal slowly moves towards the final phase of Assembly elections, TMC leader Derek O’Brien on Sunday night took to his official Twitter handle and said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will not campaign any further in Kolkata. Pointing towards the rising COVID-19 cases across the state, the TMC supremo will only hold one “symbolic” meeting on the last day of campaigning in Kolkata on April 26, the TMC leader added.
Derek O’ Brien: ‘CM Mamata to not campaign in Kolkata anymore’
Derek O’Brien also said that all poll rallies for West Bengal elections conducted by CM Mamata Banerjee will not be longer than 30 minutes. This latest announcement comes after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday suspended all his scheduled poll rallies in West Bengal amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Earlier on Thursday, the TMC supremo had appealed to the Election Commission (EC) to conduct the remaining 3 phases of West Bengal elections in one go to “protect people from further exposure to COVID-19”. However, her suggestion was strongly opposed by the BJP through a letter addressed to the EC. The BJP in the letter had said that the election should be held as per the original schedule to ensure a level-playing field for all candidates.
As India continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, West Bengal has so far recorded over 6,51,508 positive cases, out of which, 5,95,668 have recovered successfully and 10,540 have died. As per the latest reports from MoHFW, in the past 24 hours, 7,713 new cases, 3,426 fresh recoveries and 34 deaths have been reported. Currently, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the poll-bound state is 45,300.
Mamata Banerjee-led TMC had swept the 2016 Assembly polls by bagging 211 seats in the 294-member Assembly. In West Bengal, 294 seats are up for grabs and people will be able to cast their votes at 1,01,916 polling stations. Buoyed by its stupendous 2019 Lok Sabha performance, BJP is looking to oust TMC and is aiming at winning over 200 seats this time. While Congress was the second-largest party in 2016, it has tied with the Left and the ISF to form the Sanjukta Morcha.
The voter turnout for the seats that went to the polls in the first, second, third, fourth & fifth phases was 84.63 per cent, 86.11 per cent, 84.61 per cent, 79.90 per cent & 79.18% respectively. The polling for the remaining phases will take place on April 22, April 26 and April 29. Meanwhile, the Bengal elections 2021 results will be declared on May 2.
Source: The Republic