The Election Commission on Friday (April 16) rejected the suggestion of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to club together at least the last two phases of polling scheduled on April 26 and 29. As the fifth phase of polling is to take place on April 17 and the sixth on April 22 it may be feasible if the last two phases are clubbed together, the party chief Mamata Banerjee wrote to the EC. But the BJP opposed this advice of the TMC on the ground that there should be level playing field for all the voters.
The TMC made this demand keeping in mind the rapid rise in corona virus cases in India as well as in West Bengal.
The fatality rate in the state stands at 1.7 per cent which is higher than the national average. West Bengal has, on an average, been reporting 3,040 cases daily which is much higher than the neighbouring states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam.
The demand came after the Congress candidate from Shamsherganj Assembly constituency of Murshidabad, Raza-ul-Haque died after being tested COVID-19 positive. He died on Thursday while undergoing treatment in Kolkata.
The Election Commission on Friday afternoon called the meeting of all the parties to discuss the situation arising after the surge in number of cases in the poll-bound state.
Meanwhile, Union home minister Amit Shah and the national president of the BJP, J P Nadda, addressed rallies and held road shows in different parts of the state.
While Shah addressed two public meetings and held two roadshows, Nadda, himself a former Union health minister, addressed three election rallies and held two roadshows.