Mamata Banerjee Criticises EC And BJP Government For Rise In COVID-19 Cases In India

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Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, on the 26th of April, criticised the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Central Government for increasing the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 cases in India. 

Ms. Mamta Banerjee on the last day of her 50 day long poll campaign, said, “The Election Commission cannot ignore the fact that it is responsible for this huge upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the country. It brought 2 lakh police personnel from outside, and none of them have gone through COVID-19 test. They are acquiring schools, colleges and stadia, causing hindrance for the government and the people. I have been continuously telling the EC to withdraw the forces, but it kept on working under the instruction of someone else. The EC is responsible for the spread of the infection and it cannot shrug off the responsibility.“ The statement of the West Bengal Chief Minister came hours after the Madras High Court (HC) during a court hearing lashed out at the ECI. The court said, the EC would be registered under murder charges of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as it is responsible for increasing COVID-19 cases. The Court said, because of the permission of the ECI, the political parties and leaders were conducting campaigns, poll rallies, road shows and other public meetings flouting all the protocols of COVID-19.

Speaking on the same lines, Ms. Mamta Banerjee said, Calcutta High Court had censured the EC earlier regarding the same. The Calcutta HC had said, issuing circulars and holding meetings on COVID-19 guidelines were not enough to control the spread. However, the ECI did not respond and released accurate and fresh guidelines for poll campaigns.

Of the 8 phased West Bengal elections, only two phases were under the Covid protocols. Following the Calcutta HC orders, the EC capped the attendance at public events to 500 people for the last two phases, the 26th of April and the 29th of April.

In addition, the West Bengal CM accused the ECI working for the BJP and is acting as the Party’s mouthpiece.

During a virtual campaign on the 26th of April, Ms. Banerjee said, “We have told repeatedly to club the elections, but the EC kept on working on the directives of the BJP. This BJP government is an example of ‘monumental incompetence’. It has only one agenda and that is to conquer and for that it has jeopardised the lives of the people.”

Cautioning the EC of approaching the Supreme Court, Ms. Banerjee said, “The EC has lost all its credibility. The democratic exercise of an entire country cannot depend on the whims and fancies of three nominated persons. They had done it in 2016, but I kept quiet thinking that they will rectify themselves, but nothing has changed.” She further added, “The Election Commission has lost all its credibility, but someone should ‘bell the cat’ and so I am going to the Supreme Court against this partisan attitude of the Commission and its irresponsibility that led to the deaths of so many people.”

Mamata Banerjee even criticised PM Narendra Modi for lack of oxygen supply across India for COVID-19 patients. She said, “SAIL used to supply oxygen to us, but it has been told to give the supply to Uttar Pradesh. Naturally, I had to divert the oxygen needed for industrial purposes to meet the medical requirement. I have arranged for another 5,000 cylinders. We are in favour of providing free vaccine to all the people, but they are not providing us the details so that we can purchase them from the market. ”

Meanwhile, the last phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections is scheduled to be held on the 29th of April. The results of the elections would be announced on the 2nd of May.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Also read: West Bengal Conducts 6th Phase Of Assembly Elections, Polling Underway