Kolkata: After the Chief Election Officer met with all the political parties to discuss ways to curb the spread of corona during the election, the Election Commission has instructed all the parties to end their poll campaigns within 72 hours of the poll days. EC also barred all the political parties from holding any public rallies and even roadside meetings from 7 pm to 10 am.
According to Election Commission sources, apart from the other COVID19 protocols the political parties will also have to maintain the new additions to it.
“Poll campaigning was stopped for 72 hours for the fifth phase due to the killings at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district, but for the sixth, seventh and eight phase it is being stopped due to the rise in the pandemic. Moreover during the campaigns most of the leaders and cadres are seen without masks and distancing is also not maintained so those protocols should also be implemented,” said the EC sources.
Earlier this day, during the meeting with the CEO the ruling Trinamool Congress had placed a request stating to club the remaining phases together within a gap of a week, but eventually it was turned down.
TMC MP Saugata Roy said that the Election Commission never listens to any plea made by the TMC and also alleged that the EC is biased towards the BJP.
“The time is getting shortened for which the TMC wanted the remaining phases to get clubbed together but as usual the EC turned down our request. We will have to manage with the new instructions,” stated Roy.
West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that even if the Election Commission stalled the election for now the Congress will accept it for the rapid spread of the second wave of the pandemic.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Swapan Dasgupta and Left Front Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that they will abide by every protocol mentioned by the Election Commission.
Meanwhile, 45 constituencies of six districts are going for polls on April 17 and 1171 companies of central forces are deployed to all 45 constituencies.