Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 22 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday cancelled all her prescheduled meetings in Bengal for the remaining phases of assembly polls in view of the Election Commission's order and the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
"In the wake of an upsurge in COVID-19 cases across the country and the ECI order dated April 22, 2021, I am cancelling all my prescheduled meetings and we will reach out to the people virtually. We will be sharing the updated schedule of the virtual meetings shortly," she said in a tweet.
The Election Commission prohibited roadshows, Padyatras (march) and large public meetings in poll-bound West Bengal from Thursday evening in the wake of a spike in COVID cases.
"The Commission has noted with anguish that many political parties/candidates are still not adhering to the prescribed safety norms during the public gatherings and this is making it difficult for the state/district election machineries to enforce the directions fully.
"The commission invoking its power under article 324 further orders that with effect from 7 pm of April 22 in the state of West Bengal no roadshow/padyatra shall be permissible. No cycle/bike/vehicle rally shall be permissible. No public meeting beyond the limit of 500 persons at a place subject to availability with adequate space with social distancing, adhering to COVID-19 safety norms shall be permissible," the order said.
Polling for the sixth phase of the eight-phased West Bengal elections concluded on Thursday with an approximate voter turnout of 79.09 per cent till 5 pm.
Polling for the seventh and eighth phases will be held on April 26 and 29 while the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal reported 10,784 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to the state health department. The number of active cases in the state stands at 63,496. (ANI)