Bengal elections: EC bans physical campaigning, rallies after court rap

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Bengal elections: Expressing anguish over non-adherence to Covid norms in political rallies. Representational image.

Bengal elections: Expressing anguish over non-adherence to Covid norms in political rallies in West Bengal, the Election Commission Thursday ordered a complete ban on physical campaigning, including roadshows and cycle/bike/vehicle rallies.

No public rallies, foot marches, or roadshows can be held for the last two rounds of the assembly elections. The Election Commission said this, hours after it was ordered to take action in view of the rising Covid cases by the Calcutta High Court. All previous orders for rallies and roadshows stand cancelled. And only meetings that are attended by no more than 500 people, will be allowed, the Commission said.

Amid concerns that poll rallies might become super-spreader events, the court while hearing appeals for intervention, sought an action taken report from the Commission tomorrow. The judges said if the Commission fails to take action, they will do the needful.

Modi to skip visit

Voter turnout in West Bengal climbed up to 79.09% at 5 pm on Thursday, data put out by the Election Commission of India showed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said he will skip his visit to poll-bound West Bengal on Friday as he would be chairing a high-level meeting on the prevailing Covid situation.

Among the 306 candidates whose political fate will be decided during this phase are heavyweights such as Bharatiya Janata Party’s national vice-president Mukul Roy, Trinamool Congress ministers Jyotipriyo Mallick and Chandrima Bhattacharya, and CPI(M) leader Tanmay Bhattacharya. Also among the prominent names are film director Raj Chakraborty and actor Koushani Mukherjee, who are TMC’s candidates from the Barrackpore and the Krishnanagar North constituencies respectively.

The sixth phase of Bengal elections was held in the midst of an unprecedented Covid-19 surge. West Bengal registered its highest-ever single-day spike, with 9,819 people testing positive. A total of 2.95 lakh Covid cases 2,023 deaths were recorded in the country in the last 24 hours.

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