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Battleground Bengal: Demand for clubbing phases after surge in Covid cases

Matter likely to be brought up at all-party meeting with EC today to club phases 7 and 8

16 Apr 2021

Mamata

The Covid-19 pandemic is showing no signs of dissipating, and the impact is being felt nationwide with over a lakh new cases being reported every day for a few weeks now. But now the impact is also being felt in West Bengal where the first four phases of the Assembly Election have concluded, but there are four more phases to go.

Rezaul Haque, the Congress candidate from the Murshidabad seat of Samserganj, has already succumbed to the disease. Meanwhile, three other electoral hopefuls are suffering from the infection. According to The Telegraph, RSP’s Jangipur (Murshidabad) candidate Pradip Nandy and Trinamul’s Goalpokhor (North Dinajpur) candidate Gulam Rabbani and Jalpaiguri nominee P.K. Burma, are all Covid positive.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has therefore called for clubbing together at least the last two phases of the election. Last evening, she tweeted, “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. This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19.”

 

 

It is noteworthy that phase 5 is all set to take place tomorrow, April 17 and Phase 6 is scheduled for April 22. The demand to club phases is in connection with phases 7 and 8. While phase 7 is scheduled to take place on April 26, phase 8 is scheduled for April 29. 

It is noteworthy that a majority of the constituencies that are going to polls in these last two phases are strongholds of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). While phase 7 will see polling in Malda Part I, Kolkata South, Murshidabad Part I, West Bardhaman Part and Dakshin Dinajpur, phase 8 will see polling in Malda Part II, Kolkata North, Murshidabad Part II and Birbhum. Malda and Mushidabad have seen instances of communal conflagration in the past, all political rivals are campaigning hard in these areas.

As we have seen in the parliamentary elections, the support for the Bharatiya Janata Party begins to fade as one heads south along the Bangladesh border. It remains to be seen if secular parties manage to hold on to these traditional bastions in wake of one of BJP's most aggressive state election campaigns.

Understandably the BJP is against the move to club the last few phases and has communicated as much to the Chief Electoral Officer in a letter saying that the remaining phases can be conducted with adequate adherence to Covid protocol, and that clubbing the phases would be unfair to candidates who may not find adequate time for campaigning. 

The letter says, "The right to campaign available to candidates irrespective of their affiliation to parties shall be protected. The said right already exercised by more than 60% of the candidates should also be provided to the remaining candidates to ensure equality." The letter goes on to say, "By 17th April, the Commission would have effectively protected the rights of 61% of the State. The State and its people expect that the similar protection to the rights of the blalance 39% of the Constituencies would also be guaranteed by the Commission."

The entire letter may be read here: 

bjp

bjp

bjp

 

 

 

Related:

WB post poll analysis: Saffron fades as one heads South along the Bangladesh border

Elections underway, CBI, ED send notice to TMC leader

Battleground Bengal: EC bars Dilip Ghosh from campaigning for 24 hours

Battleground Bengal: Demand for clubbing phases after surge in Covid cases

Matter likely to be brought up at all-party meeting with EC today to club phases 7 and 8

Mamata

The Covid-19 pandemic is showing no signs of dissipating, and the impact is being felt nationwide with over a lakh new cases being reported every day for a few weeks now. But now the impact is also being felt in West Bengal where the first four phases of the Assembly Election have concluded, but there are four more phases to go.

Rezaul Haque, the Congress candidate from the Murshidabad seat of Samserganj, has already succumbed to the disease. Meanwhile, three other electoral hopefuls are suffering from the infection. According to The Telegraph, RSP’s Jangipur (Murshidabad) candidate Pradip Nandy and Trinamul’s Goalpokhor (North Dinajpur) candidate Gulam Rabbani and Jalpaiguri nominee P.K. Burma, are all Covid positive.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has therefore called for clubbing together at least the last two phases of the election. Last evening, she tweeted, “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. This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19.”

 

 

It is noteworthy that phase 5 is all set to take place tomorrow, April 17 and Phase 6 is scheduled for April 22. The demand to club phases is in connection with phases 7 and 8. While phase 7 is scheduled to take place on April 26, phase 8 is scheduled for April 29. 

It is noteworthy that a majority of the constituencies that are going to polls in these last two phases are strongholds of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). While phase 7 will see polling in Malda Part I, Kolkata South, Murshidabad Part I, West Bardhaman Part and Dakshin Dinajpur, phase 8 will see polling in Malda Part II, Kolkata North, Murshidabad Part II and Birbhum. Malda and Mushidabad have seen instances of communal conflagration in the past, all political rivals are campaigning hard in these areas.

As we have seen in the parliamentary elections, the support for the Bharatiya Janata Party begins to fade as one heads south along the Bangladesh border. It remains to be seen if secular parties manage to hold on to these traditional bastions in wake of one of BJP's most aggressive state election campaigns.

Understandably the BJP is against the move to club the last few phases and has communicated as much to the Chief Electoral Officer in a letter saying that the remaining phases can be conducted with adequate adherence to Covid protocol, and that clubbing the phases would be unfair to candidates who may not find adequate time for campaigning. 

The letter says, "The right to campaign available to candidates irrespective of their affiliation to parties shall be protected. The said right already exercised by more than 60% of the candidates should also be provided to the remaining candidates to ensure equality." The letter goes on to say, "By 17th April, the Commission would have effectively protected the rights of 61% of the State. The State and its people expect that the similar protection to the rights of the blalance 39% of the Constituencies would also be guaranteed by the Commission."

The entire letter may be read here: 

bjp

bjp

bjp

 

 

 

Related:

WB post poll analysis: Saffron fades as one heads South along the Bangladesh border

Elections underway, CBI, ED send notice to TMC leader

Battleground Bengal: EC bars Dilip Ghosh from campaigning for 24 hours

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