As COVID-19 cases in India rise to dizzying heights, leaders from various spheres have come forward urging the Election Commission of India to hasten the ongoing Assembly polls. The development comes even as the EC said that it had no intentions to club the remaining phases of voting. From former Chief Election Commissioner of India, Dr. S.Y. Quraishi to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee - countless individuals have urged the poll body to adapt the polling process as cases rise.
As of Friday morning, West Bengal has nearly 37 thousand active cases, with the tally rising by several thousand on a daily basis. With the Assembly polls being held in eight phases, voting in the eastern state will continue till April 29. India has recorded more than more than two lakh fresh cases on both Thursday and Friday, pushing the total number of active cases to over 15.69 lakh.
Earlier, as cases continue to rise, speculative reports had suggested that the last three phases (on April 22, 26 and 29) would be clubbed together and held on April 24. The EC however has rubbished such contentions, stating that it was not feasible at combining the phases would require an extra 1400 companies of central forces.
"The proposal to club last 3 phases of polls in WB alongside the ban on all physical rallies is sensible, desirable and doable. Saving lives at all costs is the foremost objective," tweeted Quraishi.
"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," wrote Banerjee.
Over the last couple of days, political leaders across party lines have called for a similar outcome, or hit out at the poll body over its decisions. With the EC slated to hold an all party meeting in West Bengal today, it is likely to become a topic of discussion.