Following intense pressure from the opposition parties Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (April 22) cancelled his four election rallies scheduled for April 23 in Murshidabad, Malda, Sewli and Bhawanipore in South Kolkata.
This announcement came on the day voters of 43 Assembly constituencies of West Bengal were exercising their adult franchise. Interim Election Commission figures said that till 5 pm, 79.09 % voters turned out to the booths.
The BJP leadership came under strong criticism from not only other political parties but also from the general public opinion-makers for carrying out the election campaign even as India was passing through the worst health-crisis.
It needs to be mentioned that a couple of days back the BJP had re-scheduled the PM’s tour programmes in West Bengal. He was to address two meetings each on April 22 and 24. As per the new schedule he was to deliver speeches in all the four places on April 23 itself.
But after the cancellation of the PM’s public meetings there is now no election-related programmes of PM Modi in West Bengal where the last two phases of polling would take place on April 26 and 29.
Union home minister Amit Shah who was supposed to address three rallies on Thursday rushed back to Delhi after attending only one of them. It is not yet clear whether he will return to West Bengal again or not.
West Bengal reported about 11,000 cases of corona virus in the last 24 hours with 58 deaths.
Curiously, when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi last week called off all his election-related engagements in West Bengal following surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, Union minister and BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had mocked at him by asking as to how many people would turn up to his rallies.