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West Bengal Election 2021: Never wanted eight-phase polls, says TMC, ahead of EC’s all-party meet on Covid-19

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TMC MP Derek O’ Brien

West Bengal Election 2021: The Trinamool Congress on Thursday said that it did not want the Assembly elections in the state to be held in eight phases. “We did NOT want an 8 Phase election in the first place,” TMC spokesperson Derek O’ Brien said on Twitter. While the context of his tweet was not clear, it came just a day before West Bengal CEO Aariz Aftab is scheduled to meet the leaders from all parties to ensure strict implementation of corona protocol during campaigning.

On Wednesday, Aftab called an all-party meeting on Friday (April 16) following directions to the Calcutta High Court to the CEO and all district magistrates in the state to ensure strict implementation of coronavirus protocol during campaigning for the remaining four phases of the state election. He said all political parties in the state have been asked to send only one representative each for the meeting which will discuss matters related to the campaigning for the last four phases of the poll. The poll officer said that there will be discussions on the norms of social distancing and relevant Covid-19 protocol.

The country is witnessing a sharp spike in coronavirus cases with daily numbers going as high as two lakh. The reports of rise in cases are coming from all the states. To break the chain of viruses, it is important to prevent people from gathering in large numbers. However, it was seen that the social distancing norms were openly flouted during the political campaign in Bengal, which is in the midst of polls. West Bengal was scheduled to go to polls in eight phases. Four phases have concluded while rest four will take place on April 17, 22, 26 and 29.

Soon after the state chief election officer called for an all-party meet, there was speculation that the commission might combine the last three phases into one and can conduct the last phase on April 24. However, more clarity will emerge only after the meeting on Friday. But the TMC MP’s tweet saying the ruling party did not want a prolonged election in the first place may be seen by some that there may be talks on cutting short the election and finish it by April 24.

State additional director general of police (Law and Order) Jag Mohan and state health secretary N S Nigam will also be present at the meeting called by the State Election Commission tomorrow.

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