The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday said it will not organise big election rallies for the remaining phases of polls in West Bengal as India’s coronavirus infections hit a record daily high, PTI reported.
“We had seen the high turnouts in our meetings in all the phases of polling so far,” senior party leader Md Salim said. “With the sharp rise in Covid-19, we have decided not to hold any big rally to prevent any contamination. We will undertake door-to-door and small group meetings with all Covid-19 measures in place.”
Salim said both the Centre and state government should act responsibly during the coronavirus crisis, instead of politicising the matter.
After reporting less than 10,000 cases per day earlier this year, India has recorded more than 1.5 lakh daily cases for the past five days. According to the health ministry’s data on Thursday, India recorded more than 2 lakh cases in the preceding 24 hours – a record high since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country now has 1,40,74,564 cases and 1,73,123 deaths.
Despite this, political leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been addressing massive rallies and roadshows without masks. Experts have also warned that religious gatherings and the farmers’ protest will be super-spreaders of the coronavirus.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for the rise in coronavirus cases in the state. “They [BJP leaders] have brought outsiders for campaigning and contributed to the rise in Covid cases,” she said at the public meeting. “We had managed to get hold of the Covid situation, they made it complicated.”
Banerjee also accused the Narendra Modi government of not responding to the state’s plea to vaccinate a majority of people to tackle the recent surge.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab called an all-party meeting on April 16 to ensure strict implementation of coronavirus protocol during campaigning. All political parties in the state have been asked to send one representative for the meeting.
The Calcutta High Court had on Tuesday directed that all safety guidelines should be maintained in the strictest possible manner while parties campaign for the Assembly elections.