West Bengal

West Bengal polls | Mamata Banerjee repeats demands for clubbing last three phases of polls

Mamata Banerjee -  

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reiterated her demand for holding the remaining phases of elections on a single day emphasising that it also makes lot of administrative sense to doing so. The Chief Minister also announced closure of schools in the State and said her party will campaign through small programmes. Schools across the State will remain closed from April 20 as the State government has decided to advance the summer holidays.

“On behalf of our party we have written to the Election Commission on holding polls of the remaining phases on a single day. It also makes a lot of administrative sense to hold remaining phases in one day — whether the District Magistrate will manage polls or the COVID situation?” Ms .Banerjee said speaking to journalists in Malda.

However, the Chief Minister assured the people that there was no need to panic and the West Bengal government has formed a task force to tackle the surge in the State.

Earlier in the day while addressing a public meeting in Chakulia in Uttar Dinjapur district, Ms. Banerjee once again urged the Election Commission to club the remaining three phases.

“I will appeal Election Commission with folded hands that five phases of elections have been completed and three phases are remaining We have no issues if the polls are clubbed. Even if they cannot all the three together, the last two phases can be clubbed, that will save one say,” Ms. Banerjee said. The Trinamool Congress chairperson urged the ECI not to listen to the BJP and play with the lives of the people.

Later addressing another rally at Kaliganj, she urged the people to exercise their right to franchise even if they test positive for COVID-19.

Speaking to journalists, Ms. Banerjee said she will hold small rallies as part of her campaign and give shorter speeches.

At a press conference during the day, TMC leaders said Ms. Banerjee has curtailed on her campaign including public meetings in Kolkata.

Curfew no solution

The Chief Minister also ruled out the possibility of a curfew or lockdown in the State. “Night curfew is not the solution,” she said responding to questions. Ms. Banerjee pointed out that people have to suffer because of the lockdown and such decisions makes no sense when the trains and buses are running and reiterated her allegation that many people from outside the State had come to participate in the election campaign.

During the day senior officials of the State government met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and briefed him about the steps taken to mitigate the surge of COVID-19 in the State.

“CS @MamataOfficial and Health Secretary briefed me on Covid-19 scenario. Impressed upon then to take all affirmative steps to secure full participation of people. Central Government & State Government must act in tandem to combat this menace to humanity,” Mr Dhankhar tweeted.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 12:07:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/urge-ec-with-folded-hands-to-curtail-poll-schedule-amid-covid-19-surge-mamata/article34357196.ece

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