Bengal polls: ‘Mamata Banerjee won't campaign in Kolkata, rallies timing curtailed to 30 minutes’, says TMC
With West Bengal reeling under the pressure of tackling the second wave of the novel coronavirus, TMC MP Derek O’Brien, late on Sunday, announced that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will not be campaigning in Kolkata anymore.
The Trinamool Congress has informed that party chief Mamata Banerjee will not campaign in Kolkata in view of a massive surge in Covid-19 cases. The party said that she has also slashed time for all poll rallies in other parts of the state where polling will be held in the remaining phases to just 30 minutes.
“On April 26, she will only hold a symbolic meeting on the last day of campaigning in the state capital. Besides this, the Chief Minister has also decided to hold rallies for not more than 30 minutes in other districts as well,” TMC MP Derek O’Brien said.
West Bengal has seen a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. The number of cases soared to 6,59,927 as the state registered its highest single-day spike of 8,419 fresh infections on Sunday, the state health department informed.
The state is also in the middle of a tightly fought Assembly election, with massive rallies and roadshows being organised by political parties sides, thereby, ignoring the pandemic protocol.
Amid the spike in Covid-19 cases in Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also confirmed that TMC would organise small meetings in Kolkata and she would give short speeches in rallies in districts where polling would be held in the remaining three phases.
Speaking to a private TV channel, Mamata said her rally in north Kolkata’s Beadon Street on April 26 would be her only one in the city. Earlier in the day, Mamata wrote to PM Modi, flagging doctors’ concerns about “extremely scarce and uncertain” supplies of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, two key medicines used to treat Covid-19. She also urged him to look into the “scarce and erratic” flow of vaccines into the state and ensure steady oxygen supply.
The party had last week requested the Election Commission (EC) to club the remaining phases of the assembly elections into one in view of the intensifying Covid-19 situation.
The EC has now decided to curtail the timing of the campaign for the remaining phases of the election and has extended the silence period to 72 hours for each phase. In its order, the EC has said that no rallies, public meetings, street plays, nukkad sabhas, will be allowed on any day during the days of the campaign between 7 pm and 10 am.