The Election Commission on Saturday (April 17) decided to reduce the campaigning time for the next three phases in West Bengal following a big surge in number of cases of corona virus in the state.
Now there will be no electioneering between 7 o’clock in the evening till 10 in the morning. Normally the campaigning ends at 10:00 PM and starts at 7:00 AM.
So far two candidates, one of them an MLA, have lost their lives in the last couple of days and half a dozen tested have been tested corona positive.
Though the Election Commission took this decision keeping in mind the rise in number of cases of COVID-19, West Bengal watchers are of the view that this may not have any positive impact at the ground level as the political parties would undertake more rallies in the given time which may cause even more overcrowding.
When the Election Commission reduced the campaigning time by one day for the fifth phase following firing by CISF personnel in which four people were killed in Cooch Behar on April 10, political parties increased the number of rallies they used to address daily.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing an election meeting in Asansol on Saturday charged the Trinamool Congress leader and state chief minister Mamata Banerjee with instigating the people of Cooch Behar to take out a rally with the bodies of the four people who had lost their lives. She had been doing politics with the dead body since long, the PM said, adding that her defeat is a foregone conclusion .
The BJP and TMC carried out extensive campaign on Saturday even as polling for the 45 seats in the fifth phase went on elsewhere in West Bengal.