Monday, June 21, 2021

COVID19: Election Commission bans road shows, vehicle rallies, allows only 500 persons in public meetings in West Bengal

The election campaign has subdued for the seventh phase assembly election on April 26 in West Bengal. To contain the growing cases of Coronavirus infection, the Election Commission has banned road shows and vehicle rallies and has allowed only 500 persons in the public meetings. The seventh phase of election will be held in Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda, Murshidabad, Kolkata South and Paschim Bardhaman.

The Election Commission has adjourned polling for the Jangipur and the Shamshergunj Assembly constituencies in West Bengal scheduled for April 26. In Jangipur, the Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate Pradip Nandy  has died after testing Covid positive.  The Congress candidate for the Shamshergunj constituency Rezaul Haque had died of the infection recently.

The election campaign is limited to key constituencies due to the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission. Loudspeakers are playing out speeches or songs of each political party. Big crowd is out of the campaigns. Autorickshaw and cycle rickshaws are used to campaign in the small streets of Kolkata. Bhowanipur or Bhabanipur assembly segment held twice by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier is the focus of attention in the seventh phase.

She had defeated Deepa Dasmunshi from Congress with a margin of over 25000 votes in 2016. In this election she has moved to Nandigram. The electricity minister in the Mamata cabinet Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay is up against actor Rudranil Ghosh of the BJP. In the previous election in 2016 TMC had won 14 of the 34 constituencies going to the polls on April 26. The CPI-M alliance had won 20 seats. BJP had performed better in these seats during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission issued fresh poll notifications in respect of Samserganj and Jangipur Assembly Constituencies. The polling in these two constituencies will now be held on 16th of May and the whole process of elections will be completed by 19th of May. Similarly, in case of Assembly By-poll to Pipili seat in Odisha, the polling will be held on 16th of May and the counting of votes will be taken up on 19th of May.

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