As West Bengal held a multi-phased Assembly election amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several political leaders had found themselves testing positive. And in quick succession, four poll candidates had succumbed to the deadly virus. But on Sunday, as votes were counted, a deceased candidate emerged as the primary contender, underscoring the tragic nature of the situation.
TMC candidate Kajal Sinha passed away in the last week of April, within mere days of testing positive for COVID-19. Sinha was the TMC candidate for the Khardaha constituency in North 24 Parganas, which underwent polling in the sixth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken to Twitter condoling his demise and stating that she was saddened and shocked.
"Kajal Sinha, our candidate from Khardaha, succumbed to COVID-19. He dedicated his life to serving people and just fought a tireless campaign. He was a long-serving committed member of TMC. We will miss him. My condolences to his family and his admirers," she had tweeted.
Now however, Sinha's demise has led to a macabre situation - where the Election Commission of India will count votes to (in all likelihood) declare a deceased individual the poll winner. While the data on the ECI website indicates that the seat has not yet been declared, Sinha holds a massive lead, with BJP candidate Silbhadra Datta a distant second.
In related news, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said combating the COVID-19 situation will be the topmost priority of her government and dedicated her party's resounding victory to the people of the state.
(With inputs from agencies)