BJP MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Friday said Covid vaccination of people above 18 years of age should be prioritised over holding Assembly bypolls in West Bengal.
Speaking to mediapersons outside the state Assembly, Adhikari also alleged that the state government was “hiding the real data on Covid-19 cases in the state to give an impression that conditions are suitable in the state for bypolls.”
“Assembly bypolls should not take place at this time. Now vaccination of the people and especially those above the age of 18 should be the prioritised. West Bengal government is reducing the daily Covid 19 case count and showing it as below 1,000 every day. They are hiding the real data. This is being done to give an impression that the state is doing fine in tackling Covid and the condition is suitable for bypolls,” said Adhikari.
“We all saw what happened in 2019 when she tried to unite the Opposition parties. They also held a united India rally in Kolkata. What happened in the polls? The BJP came to power with a thumping majority. These tricks by Mamata Banerjee to unite the Opposition will fail this time as well,” said the BJP MLA.
Earlier this month, a six-member TMC team met Election Commission of India (ECI) officials in Delhi and urged the poll panel to hold Assembly bypolls at the earliest.
In their letter to the ECI, MPs Sudip Bandopadhyaya, Saugata Roy, Derek O’Brien, Kalyan Banerjee, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and Kakoli Ghosh-Dastidar argued that the number of Covid cases was at least 17 times lower now, with “fewer than 831 cases reported till July 14”.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, too, recently said that her government was ready to conduct bypolls to seven Assembly constituencies. “The ECI had asked us if we could conduct by-elections to the Rajya Sabha. We told them that we were ready for Rajya Sabha elections and the seven Assembly seats. Covid situation in West Bengal is under control and elections can be held,” Banerjee had said.
Reacting to Adhikari’s remarks, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “The BJP is scared to see bypolls being held as they know well that they will not win. That’s the reason why they (BJP) want to delay holding of bypolls.”