KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will discontinue her campaigns in Kolkata for the remaining three phases of the ongoing assembly polls in the state amidst an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.
On April 26, she will only hold a 'symbolic' meeting on the last day of campaigning in the state capital, informed Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O'Brien.
"Mamata Banerjee will not campaign in Kolkata anymore. Only one 'symbolic' meeting on the last day of campaigning in the city on April 26 will be held. She slashed time for all her election rallies in all districts and is now restricted to just 30 minutes," Brien said in a tweet.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has already announced the suspension of all his forthcoming public rallies in West Bengal and advised other political leaders to do the same.
"In view of the COVID situation, I am suspending all my public rallies in West Bengal. I would advise all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances," tweeted the Congress leader.
Last week, TMC had requested the Election Commission to club the remaining phases of the assembly elections into one in view of the intensifying COVID-19 situation. Following this, the Chief Electoral Officer in West Bengal called an all-party meeting over adhering to COVID-19 norms during the ongoing assembly elections.
The first five phases of the eight-phase West Bengal assembly elections have already been completed. The sixth phase of the state assembly polls is scheduled for April 22. Polling for the seventh and the eighth phase will be held on April 26 and April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal recorded 7,713 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday. With this, the total number of cases in the state goes to 6,51,508. The active number of COVID-19 cases stands at 45,300. Meanwhile, 5,95,668 people recovered from the disease so far. The COVID death toll in West Bengal reaches 10,540.