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West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 Highlights: PM Modi, Mamata cancel public meetings, to continue virtual campaigning

West Bengal Elections 2021 Live Updates: Voter turnout in West Bengal climbed up to 79.09% at 5 pm on Thursday, data put out by the Election Commission of India showed.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata, New Delhi |
Updated: April 24, 2021 9:36:51 am
People queue up outside a polling booth in Bongaon, North 24 Parganas district, on Thursday. (Photo: Twitter/@CEOWestBengal)

West Bengal Elections 2021 Live Updates: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said she is canceling all her public meetings in the state in view of the rising coronavirus cases. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will skip his visit to poll-bound West Bengal on Friday as he would be chairing a high-level meeting on the prevailing Covid situation. Both the leaders will now campaign for their respective parties through virtual mediums.

Expressing anguish over non-adherence to Covid norms in political rallies in West Bengal, the Election Commission Thursday ordered a complete ban on physical campaigning, including roadshows and cycle/bike/vehicle rallies.

Voter turnout in West Bengal climbed up to 79.09% at 5 pm on Thursday, data put out by the Election Commission of India showed.

The sixth phase of polls was held in the midst of an unprecedented Covid-19 surge. West Bengal registered its highest-ever single-day spike, with 9,819 people testing positive. A total of 2.95 lakh Covid cases 2,023 deaths were recorded in the country in the last 24 hours.

 

Live Blog

West Bengal Elections 2021 Live Updates: Sixth phase of polling today in 43 Assembly constituencies; voting held amid unprecedented Covid-19 surge in India. Follow latest news and updates below

21:32 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Mamata Banerjee cancels all her public meetings

Amid rising Covid cases in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said she is cancelling all her public meetings in the state and will continue the campaign virtually. "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.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also canceled his scheduled public meetings in West Bengal on Friday.

20:32 (IST)22 Apr 2021
EC bans physical campaigning in Bengal

Expressing anguish over non-adherence to Covid norms in political rallies in West Bengal, the Election Commission Thursday ordered a complete ban on physical campaigning, including roadshows and cycle/bike/vehicle rallies.

17:45 (IST)22 Apr 2021
PM Modi cancels campaigning in Bengal citing Covid review meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he will skip his visit to poll-bound West Bengal on Friday as he would be chairing a high-level meeting on the prevailing Covid situation.

17:30 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Bombs hurled in Bengal's North 24 Parganas, six injured

At least six persons, including a child, sustained splinter injuries in the North 24 Pargana district's Titagarh assembly constituency after bombs were hurled indiscriminately on Thursday afternoon amid the voting exercise for the sixth phase of polls, a police officer said.

A huge team of police personnel and CAPF jawans were rushed to the area following the incident, the officer said.

A preliminary probe has revealed that unidentified persons, wearing masks, hurled several crude bombs near Tat Gate in Titagarh, he said.

"The injured are undergoing treatment at BN Bos hospital. We are looking into the matter," the officer added. (PTI)

17:09 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Modi govt has enough money but would not provide free vaccines: Mamata

Asserting that the Centre should not allow differential pricing of COVID-19 vaccines, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said people should be able to avail the shots free of cost.

Banerjee, during a rally in Tapan, claimed that the Narendra Modi government, despite having enough money in its coffers, is “reluctant” to provide vaccines free of cost.

Pointing out that Covishield is priced at Rs 150 for the Centre, Rs 400 for states and Rs 600 for private hospitals, the TMC supremo said, “Is it a joke? Why is that one vaccine is is being sold at different rates? Vaccines should not be commercialised. (PTI)

16:11 (IST)22 Apr 2021
70% voter turnout registered till 3 pm

At 3 pm, West Bengal registered 70 per cent voter turnout in the sixth phase of polling.

14:26 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Phase 6 polls: 57.3% voter turnout recorded till 1.30 pm

Voter turnout in the West Bengal climbed up to 57.30% at 1.30 pm on Thursday from 37.27% at 11 am, data put out by the Election Commission of India showed. (ANI)

13:01 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Won't let Bengal go into the hands of two goons from Delhi: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while addressing a rally in South Dinajpur on Saturday said she is a veteran in politics and will not allow Bengal to go into the hands of "two goons" from Delhi. (ANI)

11:53 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Voter falls ill in Katwa

ITBP medic team was seen giving first aid to a voter at Katwa in Purba Bardhaman district. (ANI)

11:06 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Security personnel use drones for surveillance

Security personnel use drones for surveillance in areas near booths 131-132 in Amdanga, North 24 Paraganas district, to prevent any untoward incident. (ANI)

09:51 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Bengal records 17.19% voter turnout till 9:30 am

17.19% voter turnout recorded till 9.30 am in the sixth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections. (ANI)

08:47 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Migrants rush back to Bengal to cast their votes

Raj Kumar Chaudhary, a resident of Malda district in West Bengal, is in a tearing hurry. He does not want to miss the train back to his home state as he has to cast his vote on April 29, which is the last phase of elections in Bengal.

“I do not want to waste my vote though it cost me dear. I have to sacrifice 15 days of labour as I will be back by May 5 after the results,” he said.

Chaudhary is not the only labourer headed to Bengal. Many others are going with him as three phases of elections are yet to be conducted in Bengal on April 22, 26 and 29. (Read Anju Agnihotri Chaba's report)

07:39 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Mukul Roy casts his vote at Kanchrapara

BJP national vice president Mukul Roy casts his vote at booth number 141 at Kanchrapara Municipal Polytechnic High School in North 24 Parganas district. He is among the 306 candidates contesting in the sixth phase of the Bengal Assembly elections today. Roy is running from the Krishnanagar Uttar seat in Nadia district against actor Koushani Mukherjee — his former party Trinamool's candidate — and the Congress's Sylvie Saha. (ANI)

07:22 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Technical glitch delays start of polling at booth in Uttar Dinajpur district

Voting for the sixth phase of the Bengal polls is yet to begin at booth number 134 at Raiganj Coronation High School in Uttar Dinajpur district owing to technical glitches. (ANI)

07:14 (IST)22 Apr 2021
BJP's Bengal vice president Arjun Singh, son cast their vote

West Bengal BJP vice president Arjun Singh casts his vote at booth number 144 in Jagatdal of North 24 Parganas. His son and party's candidate from Bhatpara, Pawan Singh, also exercises his franchise. (ANI)

07:02 (IST)22 Apr 2021
Voting starts across 43 constituencies in Bengal

Polling kicks off across the 43 constituencies in Bengal with queues already starting to appear in many areas, like Jagatdal in the 24 parganas.

06:57 (IST)22 Apr 2021
People start queueing up at poll booths in Jagatdal as voting starts at 7 am

People queue up outside polling station 116 in Jagatdal constituency, North 24 Parganas, as voting for the sixth phase of the elections commences at 7 am today.

The poll panel has decided to deploy at least 1,071 companies of central forces during the sixth phase of polls, an Election Commission official told PTI. These elaborate arrangements have been put in place following five deaths, including four who were killed after security forces opened fire in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase of polls on April 10. The deaths triggered a bitter war of words between TMC and BJP, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee calling for Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing her of "playing politics over dead bodies".

Read | Five dead in Bengal’s Cooch Behar district; PM Modi says ‘deeply hurt’ by violence, Mamata calls for Amit Shah’s resignation

Mamata Banerjee, during her recent campaigns, and poll strategist Prashant Kishor have both accused the Modi government of “mishandling” the Covid crisis. However, in a recent interview to The Indian Express, Amit Shah said there is no relation between the ongoing polls and the current spike in Covid cases.

Assembly seats in the Matua strongholds of Bongaon and Krishnanagar, close to the India-Bangladesh border, will go to the polls during the sixth phase.

Explained: Why Matuas and CAA matter in West Bengal polls

With citizenship for refugees having emerged as one of the poll planks of the BJP in its battle for Bengal, Matua bastions and the verdict they present during this election will prove to be a test case for the party that had been weighing the pros and cons before implementing a new law enacted for the purpose.

With an estimated three million members in the state, the community has the power to influence results in at least four Lok Sabha seats and 30-40 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

Both the TMC and the BJP have pitched hard to gain the confidence of Matuas, with the saffron party trying to woo them with its promise of according citizenship to refugees through CAA and Mamata Banerjee saying in her recent rallies that the state government already recognises them as legal citizens.

Opinion | The return of caste to Bengal

During his recent campaigns, Amit Shah has accused Banerjee of “denying citizenship to Matuas for vote bank politics”. The Bengal chief minister, in turn, has alleged that Modi’s recent visit to the birthplace of Matua community’s spiritual guru Harichand Thakur, at Orakandi in Bangladesh’s Gopalganj district, was a part of his “outreach” to the community for “vote marketing”.

Elections have been held in 180 constituencies across West Bengal so far, and the remaining 114 seats are set to go to polls between April 22 and 29. Counting of votes will be held on May 2.

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