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Published On: Thu, Apr 22nd, 2021

ECI bans rallies, public meetings in West Bengal; silence period extended

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Election WBNEW DELHI : Amid a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, the Election Commission (EC) has banned rallies, public meetings from 7 pm to 10 am beginning today.”Election Commission (EC) curtails the timing of the campaign up to 7 PM. There shall not be any campaign between 7 PM and 10 AM on campaign day.
No public rallies, foot marches or roadshows can be held in Bengal for the last two rounds of the assembly elections, the Election Commission said this evening — 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.
Bengal, which crossed the 10,000-mark in daily surges for the first time two days ago, logged 11,948 cases over the last 24 hours. Fifty-six fatalities were also recorded.
The silence period has been extended from 48 hours to 72 hours in each of the remaining three phases in West Bengal,” the poll panel said. During the silence period, which is usually for 48 hours, parties and candidates cannot hold rallies and meetings.

West Bengal on Thursday recorded the highest single-day spike of 6,769 COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 6,36,885, the state health department said. At least 22 more people succumbed to the infection, raising the toll in the state to 10,480, the department said in its bulletin. on Thursday The Commission also took a serious view against repeated violations by star campaigners/political leaders/candidates who are supposed to be torchbearers for the campaign against COVID-19, grossly violating COVID-19 protocols, thereby exposing themselves as well as the public to the danger of infection.ELECTION_12COMMISSION_EPS11
In its order, the Commission said it had noted “with anguish” that many political parties/candidates are still not adhering to the prescribed safety norms during public gatherings, which made this measure necessary. BJP not in favour of clubbing remaining phases in Bengal, writes to EC saying it wants ‘level playing field’BJP not in favour of clubbing remaining phases in Bengal, writes to EC saying it wants ‘level playing field’

Mamata Banerjee‘To protect the people…’: Mamata urges EC to hold remaining phases of Bengal polls in one go amid COVID surge
Five poll contestants test positive for COVID-19 in West Bengal; 3 from TMC, one each from BJP and RSPFive poll contestants test positive for COVID-19 in West Bengal; 3 from TMC, one each from BJP and RSP. Mamata Banerjee on Thursday had urged the Election Commission to think about conducting polls for the remaining assembly seats at one go and stressed that her party had opposed the prolonged eight-phase poll schedule.

Mamata Banerjee had urged EC to hold elections for remaining phases at one go “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,” the CM said. “This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19,” she added.
Meanwhile, the BJP in a letter to the ECI said it was not in favor of clubbing the remaining phases into one saying “in order to provide equal opportunity to all candidates and to maintain a level playing field the polls must be conducted as per schedule. “This afternoon, the BJP wiped the electoral calendar of its star campaigners in Bengal after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his tomorrow’s visit to the state citing urgent meetings to review the Covid situation in the country. The BJP’s focus on the Bengal election during the Covid-linked crisis has been sharply criticised by the opposition and a section of the civil society.
During the hearing today, the court was harsh on the poll body, observing that it was just “passing circulars and leaving it to the people” to adhere to when it has the “implementing authority”. Invoking former Election Commissioner TN Seshan — known for his fierce adherence to the Model Code of Conduct that ushered in ground-breaking electoral reforms in the 1990s — the court said the Commission “is not doing one-tenth of what TN Seshan had done”.
(With Agency Inputs).





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