West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee cancels poll meetings due to COVID-19 surge

The schedule for her virtual meetings would be shared shortly, Mamata said.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
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Considering the surge in COVID-19 and the Election Commission's decision banning road shows and vehicle rallies for the remaining phases of ongoing Assembly polls in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that she is cancelling all pre-scheduled poll meetings. Mamata has said she will address people virtually.

"In the wake of upsurge in #COVID-19 cases across the country and the ECI order dated 22nd April, 2021, I am cancelling all my pre-scheduled meetings and we will reach out to the people virtually," the Trinamool Congress supremo said on Twitter.

She said the schedule for her virtual meetings would be shared shortly.

Noting that COVID-19 safety norms were being flouted in West Bengal during campaigning, the Election Commission banned roadshows and vehicle rallies in the state with immediate effect and said no public meeting having more than 500 people would be allowed. The remaining two phases of polling will be held on April 26 and April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.

Narendra Modi had on Thursday cancelled his visit to West Bengal due to the pandemic situation. The PM on Friday chaired a high-level meeting to review the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Modi was supposed to address a political rally in Kolkata on Friday, which will now be held virtually, sources said.

Amid the raging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in West Bengal and across the country, the Election Commission on Thursday revised the schedule for repolling in Samsherganj and Jangipur constituencies in Murshidabad and fixed May 16 as the polling date.

Voting in these two seats were postponed after the candidates of the Sanjukta Morcha contracted COVID-19. The elections in both these seats were scheduled to be held on April 26 during the seventh phase of polling.

On April 15, the Congress candidate from Samsherganj, Rezaul Haque, died due to the COVID-19, compelling the poll panel to postpone the elections there.

Two days later on April 16, RSP candidate from Jangipur, Pradip Nandi, succumbed to the virus, forcing repolling in the seat.

Watch video: All you need to know about COVID-19, new variants and staying safe

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