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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Election 2021 Highlights: EC bans rallies, public meetings in Bengal from 7 pm to 10 am

Out of the eight-phase assembly elections in the state, four phases have been completed and the remaining four are scheduled to be held between April 17 and 29.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2021 9:16:42 am
Crowd at an election rally in Darjeeling, West Bengal. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

In view of a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission has decided to ban rallies, public meeting and streets play in poll-bound West Bengal from 7 pm to 10 am. The silence period for the remaining phases has also been extended from 48 hours to 72 hours.

During an all-party meeting called by the West Bengal CEO over the Covid-19 situation, the Left Front said that the poll schedule should be maintained. “Our point is that the schedule should be maintained. The election is in motion. There is no question of change of schedule at this point of time,” CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Bhattacharya was quoted saying by PTI after the meeting.

Out of the eight-phase assembly elections in the state, four phases have been completed and the remaining four are scheduled to be held between April 17 and 29.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that if the situation of infiltration continues in Bengal, it will pose a threat to the entire country. “Shouldn’t we stop infiltration in Bengal? Infiltrators take away jobs of our youth, snatch away foodgrain of the poor,” he said during a poll rally.

In other news, an FIR has been lodged against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, alleging that her speech instigating voters to ‘gherao’ central forces in the state had ultimately led to the violent incident in Cooch Behar, where four villagers were shot dead by CISF personnel at a polling booth, PTI reported.

Live Blog

FIR against Mamata Banerjee in Cooch Behar for 'instigating' people to gherao central forces

20:52 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Opinion | Why West Bengal polls have resonance for the Indo-Pacific

A heated political battle is brewing in West Bengal. Much has been written about the sociological dynamics and political implications of the polls. What has been relatively neglected is the resonance of the elections on the neighbourhood of eastern India.

The elections have been conducted amidst deteriorating relations between the state’s Hindu and Muslim populations. Religious polarisation between the two communities have become acute in recent years, as the BJP strives to extend its footprint in West Bengal on the back of discontentment among Hindu refugees fleeing religious persecution from neighbouring Bangladesh. Read more here.

20:46 (IST)16 Apr 2021
RSP's Jangipur candidate dies due to Covid-19

RSP's Jangipur candidate Pradip Kumar Nandi died in a hospital in Bengal on Friday. Nandi had tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. 

19:01 (IST)16 Apr 2021
EC bans rallies, public meets in Bengal from 7 pm to 10 am

Keeping in mind the rise of Covid-19 cases across the country, the Election Commission Friday banned rallies, public meeting and streets plays in poll-bound West Bengal from 7 pm to 10 am.

18:43 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Watch: BJP president JP Nadda's roadshow in Kolkata

BJP president JP Nadda Friday took out a roadshow in Kolkata North Suburban, West Bengal.

17:15 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Bengal poll schedule should be maintained, says Left Front during all-party mee

During an all-party meeting called by the West Bengal CEO over the Covid-19 situation, the Left Front said that the poll schedule should be maintained. 

"Our point is that the schedule should be maintained. The election is in motion. There is no question of change of schedule at this point of time," CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Bhattacharya was quoted saying by PTI after the meeting. 

Out of the eight-phase assembly elections in the state, four phases have been completed and the remaining four are scheduled to be held between April 17 and 29.

17:13 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Visuals from Amit Shah's roadshow in Barrackpore

Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah Friday took out a roadshow in Barrackpore, West Bengal.

(Express photos)
17:08 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Visuals from all-party meet called by CEO

An all-party meeting was called by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) over the alarming Covid-19 situation in West Bengal. According to PTI, West Bengal CEO Aariz Aftab called the all-party meeting following the Calcutta High Courts direction to him and all district magistrates of the state to ensure strict implementation of COVID-19 protocol during campaigning for the remaining phases of the election. 

16:59 (IST)16 Apr 2021
BJP responsible for Covid surge, will urge EC to prevent entry of outsiders: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said she will call upon the Election Commission to stop the BJP from bringing "outsiders" during campaigning, squarely blaming the saffron party for exacerbating the Covid-19 situation in the state.

Banerjee, during a poll meeting in Nadia district, said the BJP brought people from "worst-hit" states like Gujarat for erecting marquees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rallies.

"I will tell the EC to stop the inflow of outsiders from states like Gujarat who are responsible for the COVID-19 spread in Bengal.

"We have nothing to say if the PM or other leaders come for campaigning... Why should the BJP bring people from worst-affected states to set up podiums and pandals for rallies," she said. (PTI)

16:05 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Assured EC that we'll adhere to Covid protocols: BJP's Swapan Das Gupta

Following an all-party meeting with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) West Bengal, BJP leader Swapan Das Gupta said that he has assured EC that his party (BJP) will adhere to all Covid-related protocols. "We've advised EC to balance the need for a robust democratic culture with safety norms. It is up to the EC to tell us what exactly political parties must do," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

15:54 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Watch: Amit Shah's road in Bengal's Krishnanagar north 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah Friday held a roadshow in West Bengal's Krishnanagar north for BJP candidate Mukul Roy.

15:41 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Five poll contestants test positive for Covid-19 in Bengal

At least five candidates of different parties contesting the ongoing assembly election in West Bengal have tested positive for Covid-19, news agency PTI reported citing health department official. Out of the five candidates who tested positive, three are from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and one each from the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), officials said.

14:42 (IST)16 Apr 2021
West Bengal Chief poll officer holds all-party meeting to discuss Covid norms during campaigning

West Bengal's Chief Electoral Officer is holding an all-party meeting to discuss Covid-safe campaigning strategies amid a surge in cases.

13:43 (IST)16 Apr 2021
‘Infiltrators take away jobs of the youth, steal food grains from poor,’ says Shah

Speaking at an election rally in Tehatta, West Bengal, Home Minister Amit Shah said, "Shouldn't we stop infiltration in Bengal? Infiltrators take away jobs of our youth, snatch away foodgrain of the poor. If the situation of infiltration continues in Bengal, then believe me, it'll pose a threat to not only Bengal but the entire country."

13:11 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Ahead of 5th phase of Assembly Elections in Bengal, polling officials collect EVMs in Siliguri
13:10 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Amit Shah visits Tehatta in Nadia district
13:10 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Amit Shah visits Tehatta in Nadia district
10:34 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Mamata Banerjee demands polls in one go, Election Commission says legally difficult

Concerned about a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged the Election Commission (EC) to consider clubbing the remaining four phases and conduct the elections at one go. The poll body, however, dismissed the demand, saying it was “legally difficult”.

Elections have been held for 135 constituencies so far, and the remaining 159 seats are set to go to the polls between April 17 and 29.

“Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP’s decision to conduct WB polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in ONE go. This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19,” Banerjee tweeted ahead of the fifth phase that will be held on Saturday. Read the report here. 

10:26 (IST)16 Apr 2021
Hello and welcome to our West Bengal election LIVE blog!

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20:12 (IST)15 Apr 2021
FIR against Mamata in Cooch Behar for 'instigating' people to gherao central forces

An FIR has been lodged against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a police station here, alleging that she instigated voters to gherao central forces and that, in turn, led to the incident of firing in Sitalkuchi and the subsequent death of four persons.

Siddique Ali Mia, the zilla president of BJP's minority cell in Cooch Behar, cited the TMC supremo's comments during a rally in Banerswar area as he filed a complaint on Wednesday claiming that her address provoked people to attack CISF personnel during the fourth phase of state elections.

He attached a video clip of Banerjee's speech in his complaint at Mathabhanga police station. (PTI)

19:03 (IST)15 Apr 2021
EC debars BJP's Dilip Ghosh from campaigning for 24 hours over Cooch Behar remark

The Election Commission Thursday imposed a 24-hour campaigning ban on West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh over his remark that more "Cooch Behar-like killings may happen if naughty boys like the ones who received bullets in Sitalkuchi" try to take the law into their hands.

In Nadia, which BJP wrested in 2019, TMC’s key election plank: this is local, not national

Sujit Biswas, 46, a TMC logo on his shirt, sits in his kirana store right next to the crumbling National Highway that connects Kolkata to Siliguri on the outskirts of Santipur in Nadia. His perch is a vantage point — the entire ward comes shopping to his store.

As three women arrive, he talks to them about the April 17 elections and asks them if they are beneficiaries of the state government’s schemes. They nod. Then he delivers his punchline. “Do you think all the schemes, the cycles, Rupashree (Rs 25,000-aid for marriage), Kanyashree (girl scholarships)… these schemes will continue if Didi goes? This is a state election.

Remember that when you vote,” Biswas says.

In Santipur, where the BJP took a massive lead in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the aim of the TMC is clear: bring the elections to local issues.

Karnataka: In BJP den, shadow of CD episode in Belagavi bypoll

In the sugarcane-growing, water-rich, feudal region of Belagavi in north Karnataka, use of sting videos to trigger the fall of political rivals is not exactly new.

The by-election to Belagavi Lok Sabha seat, triggered by the death of four-time BJPMP Suresh Angadi, takes place on Saturday in the backdrop of a video allegedly involving Ramesh Jarkiholi, BJP MLA and former state minister who was forced to resign in March after being accused of rape by a woman in the video.

Twenty years ago, a secretly recorded video of an act of alleged corruption had led to the downfall of then state Congress chief V S Koujalgi, leading to the rise of the Jarkiholis brothers as a major force in Belagavi politics.

In prestige fight for TMC, two key leaders square off in Bidhannagar

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has won the high-profile Bidhannagar Assembly constituency since 2011 but a close contest appears to be on the cards this time, making a prestige fight for the ruling party.

The TMC has once again fielded state minister Sujit Bose in the constituency that he won by 6,988 votes in 2016. Despite praise from voters about the work he has done, Bose faces a tough challenge from former Bidhannagar mayor Sabyasachi Dutta, a former TMC colleague who switched over to the saffron party in 2019. In the Lok Sabha elections that year, the BJP took a lead of 6,489 votes in the Bidhannagar segment.

While some voters praise Bose for the work he has done and say that he is approachable, others point out Dutta is an equally popular figure and well-versed with municipal work.

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