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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: Extortion, appeasement flourishing under Mamata in Bengal, says Nadda

West Bengal Elections 2021 Highlights: Earlier in the day, a Trinamool Congress candidate from Khardah Assembly constituency in North 24 Paraganas district succumbed to Covid infection in Kolkata.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: April 25, 2021 9:31:32 pm
Mamata Banerjee, J P Nadda, COVID-19, PM covid-19 meeting, Narendra Modi Mamata Banerjee COVID-19 meeting, india news, indian express“The Covid-19 vaccines made in India does not belong to any political party or leader-it belongs to the nation. Yet the Congress did not do the right thing instead did the wrong politics,” Nadda said.

West Bengal Elections 2021 Highlights: Addressing a virtual meeting from Delhi in support of BJP candidate from Malda’s Manikchak seat, where polling is scheduled to be held on April 29, BJP national president J P Nadda on Sunday claimed that extortion and appeasement politics are flourishing under Mamata Banerjee’s rule in Bengal. “The CM has stopped sending crime records of the state to NCRB to mask the real situation,” he said.

He also slammed Banerjee for her persistent attacks on the Centre over the prevailing COVID-19 situation, and sought to know why she chose to skip a virtual meeting where Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed ways to combat the disease. “If vaccines are not available, how are you (Banerjee) sending updates on the number of doses administered every day to the Union Health ministry?” Nadda stated.

Earlier in the day, a Trinamool Congress candidate from Khardah Assembly constituency in North 24 Paraganas district succumbed to Covid infection in Kolkata. Kajal Sinha passed away today morning after being on ventilator support for three days. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her condolences and said that she was “shocked” by the news.

Amid an unprecedented uptick in Covid-19 cases across the country, the Election Commission on Saturday said the enforcement of Covid safety protocols have been “less than adequate” during the election campaign in Bengal. The EC has directed the State Disaster Management Authority to monitor covid protocols and take strict action if rules are flouted.

Live Blog

EC directs SDMA to monitor covid-19 protocol violations during campaigning; Mithun Chakraborty booked for violating coronavirus norms; Bengal to vote again on April 26.

21:22 (IST)25 Apr 2021
Mamata's allegations of plans to act against TMC workers false: Election Commission

A day after Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee alleged there were plans to detain her party workers ahead of voting in West Bengal at the instance of poll observers, the Election Commission said no instructions have been issued by any of its officers or observers to act against workers of any political party. 

In a statement, the Commission said a section of the media has reported about "allegations" made the West Bengal Chief Minister that instructions have been given by some ECI officers and observers to arrest "TMC goons".  

"Such statements supposedly attributed to ECI officers and observers are absolutely baseless, false and misleading. No such instructions have been given by any observer, Chief Electoral Officer or officer of the Commission to act against workers of any party(ies)," the statement said.

Banerjee had on Saturday alleged that she has come to know that three special observers of the Election Commission have "ordered police officers to detain TMC workers" ahead of the voting exercise, and said that she would move the Supreme Court against this "conspiracy".

Banerjee has often accused the Commission of being partisan, a charge rejected by the poll panel. (PTI)

20:49 (IST)25 Apr 2021
Sonowal, Himanta violating poll code in name of tackling COVID: Assam's Grand Alliance tells EC

The Congress-led 'Grand Alliance' in Assam on Sunday alleged Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violation by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the name of COVID-19 management, urging the Election Commission to bar them from travelling to different districts to hold meetings.

In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, the 10-party opposition grouping said the MCC is still in force in Assam and it will continue till the declaration of the poll results on May 2, making the status of the BJP-led government only a caretaker government.

"But the Chief Minister and Health and Finance Minister are deliberately violating the MCC of the Election Commission of India. Since 23rd April 2021, Sarbananda Sonowal is visiting number of districts like Nagaon, Morigaon, Majuli etc and holding discussions there with the officials of different departments," it said.

Similarly, Sarma and Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika are also visiting separately to some districts like Nagaon, Morigaon and Dima Hasao and holding meetings with government officials there, the complaint stated.

"This is not only violating the MCC of the ECI, but also grossly violates the Covid protocol," the letter claimed, adding that Sarma has announced many government policies related to the management of the pandemic in the state. (PTI)

20:45 (IST)25 Apr 2021
People interested in 'COVID ki baat', and not 'Mann ki baat', says Mamata

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday claimed that people are no longer interested in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Maan ki baat' programme, they, instead, want to hear 'COVID ki baat'(COVID-related talks) as the pandemic has left lakhs gasping for breath, amid shortage of vaccines and oxygen cylinders.

Modi, during his monthly radio broadcast 'Mann ki baat' earlier in the day, said that the COVID-19 "storm" has shaken the country, and urged people to get vaccinated.

Banerjee, during a meeting with party workers at an auditorium in Murshidabad district, claimed that Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah were busy "planning ways to capture Bengal, when they should have been taking appropriate measures" to combat the second wave of the pandemic.

"Who is interested in your 'Mann Ki Baat', people now want to hear 'COVID ki baat'. If there is one infected person in a crowd of 1,000, he can contaminate the rest. Two lakh CAPF personnel came from states like UP, Delhi and Rajasthan and many of them might have been carriers of the virus without their knowledge as no RT PCR tests was conducted by the EC.

"Around one lakh BJP cadres from other states, including ministers from saffron party-ruled states, came to Bengal for campaigning and to rig votes. They put up in hotels and guest houses, and must have contributed to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Bengal," she claimed. (PTI)

20:43 (IST)25 Apr 2021
'Ghar ka ladka' Firhad Hakim locked in triangular fight in Kolkata Port

The stage is set for a three-cornered contest in the Kolkata Port constituency, where minority votes could be a deciding factor, between the ruling TMC's Firhad Hakim, Awadh Kishore Gupta of the BJP and the CPI(M)-Congress-ISF combine's Mohammed Mukhtar.

Over 40 per cent of the 2,35,854 electorate in the constituency are Hindi-speaking minority voters, and a majority of them swear by their "ghar ka ladka" (family member) Hakim as custodian.

The area is dotted with huge banners in favour of the city's outgoing mayor and lifelike cutouts of him along with Trinamool Congress flags.

"I am not an outsider here. This is my home. I come here regularly unlike other MLAs who visit their constituencies only when the elections approach... 'Kuch bhi problem ho main hoo na. Ghumao number aur Bobby Hakim is there; Sab ke paas mera number hai (Any problem here, and I am there. Everybody has my number. I am a ring away," Hakim, 62, told PTI. (PTI)

18:24 (IST)25 Apr 2021
Nadda hits out at Mamata for 'skipping' PM's virtual meet with CMs on COVID-19 situation

BJP president J P Nadda on Sunday slammed Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her persistent attacks on the Centre over the prevailing COVID-19 situation, and sought to know why she chose to skip a virtual meeting where Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed ways to combat the disease.

He contended that the TMC supremo's "anxiety has grown manifold", after having seen the support that is pouring in for the BJP, and the ruling party, for that reason, has "resorted to attacks on saffron party men".

Addressing a virtual meeting from Delhi in support of BJP candidate from Malda's Manikchak seat, where polling is scheduled to be held on April 29, Nadda said, "Why didn't you (Banerjee) attend meetings convened by the prime minister on COVID-19, is it because of your huge ego?"

Nadda said that the chief minister, who also holds the health portfolio, "claimed that vaccines are not available in Bengal, having forgotten that she deprived the people of the state of many essential facilities over the last 10 years".

"If vaccines are not available, how are you (Banerjee) sending updates on the number of doses administered every day to the Union Health ministry?" Nadda stated.

He further said that members of a central team sent by the Union government to West Bengal last year to review the coronavirus situation were prevented from working freely by the Banerjee-led administration. (PTI)

16:38 (IST)25 Apr 2021
Veteran TMC leader pitted against actor-turned-BJP greenhorn in Bhabanipur

A seasoned actor but a greenhorn in electoral politics, Rudranil Ghosh, has been fielded by the BJP from the prestigious Bhabanipur assembly constituency in south Kolkata, a seat left by Bengal Chief Minister and TMC boss Mamata Banerjee as she chose to contest the polls from Nandigram.

The TMC chief had described the seat, of which she is the sitting MLA and a resident, as her "boro bon" (elder sister) at a poll rally in Nandigram, and reposed faith in veteran politician and state power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay to make a hat-trick of wins for the party.

Under the shadow of Banerjee's influence, the assembly segment has been the stronghold of the ruling TMC since it came into being for the second time in 2011, following the delimitation exercise.

For Chattopadhyay, who had fought assembly elections seven times and won each of the contests, the constituency is his home turf as he is a resident of the area and exercises his franchise there.

Ghosh, who has received accolades for his performances in 'Vinci Da' and 'Chaplin', said a large section of people in Bhabanipur are non-Bengalis and may have not watched his films, but they are aware of his social work in the area.

"Sixty per cent of the voters here may have not seen my films, but they know me for my social work. They also know that no graft charge has ever been filed against me. People in Bhabanipur have become disillusioned with Mamata Banerjee in the last couple of years. She fled to Nandigram sensing imminent defeat here," Ghosh, who was once an aide of the TMC supremo but fell out with her two years back, told PTI. (PTI)

15:16 (IST)25 Apr 2021
Union minister Babul Supriyo tests positive for Covid, says 'won't be able to vote' in Asansol

Union Minister Babul Supriyo Sunday informed that he and his wife have tested positive for COVID and hence he won’t be able to vote in Asansol on April 26. Supriyo has tested positive for the virus for the second time. He, however, said mentally he will be with the BJP candidates of the Asansol area and will monitor the situation from home.

"Both me & my wife have tested positive. Me for the 2nd time!! V Sad that I won't be able to vote in Asansol. I needed to be there on the road too for the 26th polls where 'desperate' @AITCofficial goons hv already unleashed their terror machinery to disrupt free & fair polls," Supriyo tweeted. "However, the #TMchhi terror machinery who I hv handled (well) since 2014 may not rejoice Wil b doing my duties frm my room & b right by my candidates mentally in everyway possible to ensure 9/9 seats there," he said in a series of tweets. (PTI)

12:43 (IST)25 Apr 2021
TMC's Khardah candidate dies of Covid, Mamata expresses shock

A Trinamool Congress candidate from Khardah Assembly constituency in North 24 Paraganas district succumbed to Covid infection in Kolkata on Sunday.

Kajal Sinha was undergoing treatment at Beleghata I.D and B.G Hospital ever since he tested positive for Covid. He passed away at 9.45 am today after being on ventilator for three days.

“Very, very sad. Shocked. Kajal Sinha, our candidate from Khardaha, succumbed to Covid. He dedicated his life to serving people & just fought a tireless campaign. He was a long-serving committed member of @AITCofficial. We will miss him. My condolences to his family & his admirers (SIC),” tweeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

10:47 (IST)25 Apr 2021
BJP flouting EC COVID safety norms, claims TMC's Abhishek Banerjee

Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday attacked the BJP for allegedly organising campaign rallies flouting the Election Commissions COVID-19 safety protocols amid surging cases, and urged the poll panel to take note of it.

While the TMC has announced cancellation of public meetings the day EC banned road shows, rallies and allowed meetings only with a maximum of 500 people, the BJP is refusing to obey the rules endangering people's lives, the TMC youth wing president claimed in a live interaction on Facebook. He alleged that 10,000 people attended a BJP rally at Malda on Saturday.

10:45 (IST)25 Apr 2021
EC flags ‘inadequate’ enforcement of Covid norms during campaigns

The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday said the enforcement of Covid safety measures under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, had been “less than adequate” during the Assembly election campaign.

The observation was made at a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, and attended by Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and other senior state government officials such as the home secretary, health secretary, the secretary for disaster management, the state police chief, and the Kolkata police commissioner.

On Saturday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the special observers of the Election Commission of having ordered police officers to detain TMC workers during poll hours. Banerjee said that she will not be silenced and will approach the apex court against EC’s poll panel.

In another incident of election violence, at least 7 people were injured in a TMC-BJP clash in Topsia area of the Entally assembly constituency in Bengal.

And in Bengal's Asansol, The City of Brotherhood, tension over religious conflict has been weaved into a political fabric ahead of the upcoming polls. With voting due for two more phases, all of Asansol is akin to a poster and flag competition, with BJP and Trinamool markers are fighting for space. Read our ground report here.

In other news, BJP’s star campaigner Mithun Chakraborty on Saturday was booked for allegedly violating Covid-19 guidelines after he conducted a rally of over 500 people in Malda district on Friday.

Voting for West Bengal's phase 6 ended on Thursday, the state will vote again for its phase 7 and 8 on April 26 and April 29. Election results for all states and UT's -- Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Bengal -- will be declared by the Election Commission on May 2.

Vaccine politics: BJP vows free shots, TMC flags Bihar promise

Following in the footsteps of the TMC, the BJP on Friday promised to provide Covid-19 vaccines free to people in West Bengal if it was voted to power.

“As soon as the BJP government comes to power in West Bengal, COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost to everyone,” tweeted the BJP on a day when the campaigning for the seventh phase of elections ended.

Modi ends campaign with virtual meeting: People want change

A day after cancelling his four rallies for the Assembly polls in view of rising Covid cases in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday virtually addressed BJP supporters, and wrapped up his poll campaign by stressing that people from every walk of life were yearning for change in the state.

“People in West Bengal are yearning for a change. This is not just for a change in the government. Be it villages or cities, people are yearning for a better life, better education, better employment and better option. They want a government where every department works honestly and carries out its duty. It should be free of discrimination and full of harmony,” he said, promising “asol poriborton” if the BJP came to power. Unlike his previous rallies, Modi avoided personal attacks on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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