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With West Bengal reporting the highest single-day surge of 8,426 new COVID-19 infections yesterday, political parties are finally paid heed to the long-awaited call of limiting their campaign blitzkrieg. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday urged the Election Commission to consider clubbing the last three phases into one. She requested the EC to wrap up the last three phases of polls on a single day or at the most in two days to check the spread of the COVID-19. The TMC supremo also declared that going forward, she will not be holding any large poll rallies in Kolkata and also said that her public meetings in other parts of the state will be smaller compared to her previous ones. TMC MP Derek O’Brien took to Twitter to inform that Mamata Banerjee has slashed time for all her election rallies in all districts and has restricted her meetings to just 30 minutes.
The BJP, which has been going all guns blazing in the state, said that it will not hold mega public meetings any more. The saffron party said in its statement that all its leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address small public meetings with a maximum of 500 people in attendance. The party said that it has decided to stop big public events in West Bengal to break the chain of COVID-19 infection. The BJP said all its public meetings will be held in open places following all COVID-19 guidelines and that it will distribute six crore masks and sanitisers in the state.
The CPI-M had already shunned big rallies emphasising on the door to door campaign, street corner meetings and use of social media for canvassing. While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also announced to suspend all his election rallies in West Bengal, party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was seen holding big rallies till yesterday. However, he wrote to the Election Commission later in the day urging them to defer the last three phases of assembly polls in the state. He asked the EC to choose what is important at this juncture – the lives of people or polls to choose their representatives. He also reminded the EC that two candidates in Bengal have died after contracting COVID-19.
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