Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday (April 15) urged the Election Commission to think about conducting polls for the remaining assembly seats at one go, in view of rising cases of COVID-19 in the state. She also stressed that her party had earlier opposed the prolonged eight-phase poll schedule.
In a tweet, she said that such a move should be taken in view of public interest, adding "Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP's decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in ONE go."
She further said, "This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19."
Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP's decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 15, 2021
Ahead of the fifth phase of polls, on April 17, social media debates are on whether the poll panel should at least conduct the next three phases of Bengal elections on a single day.
Meanwhile, Election Commission on Thursday evening imposed a 24-hour campaign ban on the BJP's West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh for his remarks that "there will be Sitalkuchi in several places". It also issued a notice to another BJP leader Sayantan Basu for his alleged "inflammatory" remark during a speech asking him to explain his stand within 24 hours.
In order against Dilip Ghosh, the EC said that it "sternly warns" Ghosh and advises him to desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
The ban will be effective from 7 pm April 15 to 7 pm April 16, during which Ghosh will not be allowed to campaign. The TMC leaders had approached the Election Commission against Ghosh.
The West Bengal BJP leader Sayantan Basum, however, was issued notice for his alleged "inflammatory" remark during a speech. The notice said the poll panel had received a complaint against Basu over his speech in North 24 Parganas' Baranagar.
His speech was found to be in violation of the model code and provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the Indian Penal Code by the Election Commission.
(With Agency Inputs)