West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today canceled all her remaining poll meetings citing an Election Commission order issued earlier in the day. She will now “reach out to people” virtually, the Trinamool founder said.
“In the wake of upsurge in #COVID19 cases across the country and the ECI Order dated 22nd April, 2021, I am cancelling all my prescheduled meetings and we will reach out to the people virtually. We will be sharing the updated schedule of the virtual meetings shortly,” she tweeted late in the evening today.
Her announcement came after the poll panel barred any more public rallies, foot marches, and roadshows ahead of the last two rounds of the assembly elections. All previous orders for rallies and roadshows stand cancelled and only meetings that are attended by no more than 500 people, will be allowed, the Commission said today.
The Election Commission’s order itself came hours after it was asked by the Calcutta High Court to act in the wake of the rising Covid cases.
The state crossed the 10,000-mark in daily surges for the first time two days ago and logged 11,948 cases over the past 24 hours. Up to 56 fatalities were recorded, too.
Amid concerns that poll rallies might become super-spreader events, the High Court sought an action taken report from the poll panel tomorrow.
On its part, the Election Commission noted that many political parties and candidates had failed to adhere to the prescribed COVID-19 protocol during gatherings. It had earlier rejected the Trinamool’s request to club the final phases of the polls in view of the pandemic.