Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced that he is suspending all his public rallies in West Bengal in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country.
The Congress leader also urged "all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances."
In view of the Covid situation, I am suspending all my public rallies in West Bengal.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 18, 2021
I would advise all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances.
West Bengal is left with three more phases of its assembly election.
The state on Saturday registered its highest single- day spike of 7,713 coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 6,51,508, bulletin released by the state health department said.
The death toll rose to 10,540 after 34 COVID-19 fatalities were registered in the state, it added.
The city on Saturday also accounted for its highest one- day spike of 1,998 new cases along with 10 more casualties.
Neighbouring North 24 Parganas registered eight deaths, Murshidabad (5), Birbhum (3) and two each in South 24 Parganas (2) and Purulia, the bulletin said.
One death each was reported in Hooghly, Howrah, Purba Bardhaman and Jalpaiguri districts, it added.
Out of the 34 deaths, 17 were due to the co-morbidities where COVID-19 was incidental.
Among the fresh cases, North 24 Parganas accounted for 1,639 cases, while Howrah (432), Birbhum (406), Malda (344), Hooghly (321) and Paschim Bardhaman (310), it added.
In the last 24 hours, 3,426 recoveries were registered in the state.
The discharge rate slipped further to 91.43 per cent as till Saturday 5,95,668 people have been cured in the state.
Since Friday, 45,330 samples have been tested in West Bengal taking the total number of such clinical examinations to 97,62,086.
On Saturday, Trinamool Congress MLA from Murarai constituency in the outgoing assembly Abdur Rahman died at a city hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for COVID-19, health department officials said.
Rahman, who was named as the candidate for the same seat by the TMC for the ongoing elections, was replaced by Dr Mosarraf Hossain after he tested positive for the contagion.
Rahman was shifted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated, the official said adding that the TMC leader breathed his last this morning.
The surging coronavirus in its second wave is a cause of worry for the poll-bound Bengal.
On Saturday, the fifth phase polling of the assembly elections were conducted in 45 constituencies with three phases remaining.
The counting is scheduled on May 2.
Incidentally, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed to club the final three phases of the ongoing elections after the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, which, however, was turned down by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Two contesting candidates -- both from West Bengal's Murshidabad district -- died due to the COVID-19.
At least five other contesting candidates are undergoing treatment after they tested positive for the disease.
The Congress has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for holding political rallies amid the rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has accused the prime minister of shocking callousness for holding big political rallies in poll-bound Bengal amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.
He said the prime minister should be at his job, sitting at his desk and coordinating with chief ministers in handling the COVID pandemic.
Prime Minister Modi has been addressing public rallies in West Bengal for the eight-phase assembly elections in the state.
India has been witnessing a massive surge in coronavirus cases.
A record single-day rise of 2,61,500 coronavirus infections has taken the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,47,88,109, while active cases surpassed the 18-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.
(With PTI Inputs)