April 27, 2021 5:06:10 am
Welcoming the Madras High Court’s observation holding the Election Commission responsible for the Covid crisis in the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that along with the poll panel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was equally responsible for the current situation.
She also demanded the withdrawal of Central forces in the next phase of polling in a bid to contain Covid spread in the state.
“I welcome the Madras High Court’s observations on the Election Commission (EC). It said that EC cannot escape its responsibility. The Election Commission and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are responsible for the current covid situation in the country. I am urging the Supreme Court to look into it,” Banerjee said at a TMC workers’ meeting in Kolkata.
“While mass pyres were lit at crematoriums, Modi was busy delivering ‘Mann Ki Baat speeches,” the Chief Minister added.
Stating that her government cannot set up temporary facilities for Covid patients in schools and government offices as they are being currently occupied by the Central forces deployed by the Election Commision for poll security, the Chief Minister said: “I am requesting please withdraw the around 2 lakh-strong Central forces drawn from Covid-hit states, who are camping in schools and colleges. Nearly 75 per cent of them may be infected by the virus. Please withdraw them in the last phase.”
“The Election Commission should withdraw Central forces as early as possible. Because of them, I cannot set up safe homes and take other measures to fight the pandemic,” she added.
On Monday, West Bengal hit a new record in daily fresh cases – 15,889 – with 68 deaths.
Banerjee said the TMC will move the Supreme Court after the elections against the EC on the manner in which the body was conducting polls in West Bengal. “We will tell Supreme Court. The EC did not club the poll phases despite the spike in Covid-19 cases,” she said, alleging that the BJP influenced the eight-phase vote schedule drawn up by EC.
Banerjee alleged that EC has prepared a list as directed by the BJP, which instructed police to arrest key party members from Entally and Belgachhia areas ahead of the April 29 polls in north Kolkata constituencies and instructed her party functionaries “just refuse to go.”
Repeating her charge that the Centre mismanaged the Covid situation, she said “PM and Home Minister literally camped in Bengal for three months and put the looming Covid-19 crisis on the backburner.”
“I wonder if the institution (EC) is capable of protecting democracy with retired government servants looking for plum postings as Governors,” she added.
Banerjee, who earlier cast her vote in Kolkata, also urged people to take precaution and follow Covid protocols.
“I am appealing to everyone, starting from those in Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, where polling will be held in the final phase on Thursday, to remain alert and take precaution. Besides, fighting the war against Covid, we also have to fight the Election Commission
which is conspiring to ensure that our people cannot vote,” Banerjee said.
With PTI Inputs
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