Amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, the fierce campaigning for the final phase of polling in West Bengal ended on Monday with top leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee making accusations and counter-accusations on the issues of governance.
Speaking at a public meeting in the state capital, the West Bengal Chief Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission (EC) are responsible for the '"increase in COVID-19 cases".
"I am sorry to say, we respect Election Commission but you have become BJP's 'tia, Moina and Aaina' (parrot, myna and mirror)...Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Election Commission are responsible for the increase in COVID-19 cases," she said.
Banerjee also hailed the Madras High Court's order that said the Election Commission holds the responsibility of surge in COVID-19 cases.
"I welcome Madras High Court's order. The court has clearly said that Election Commission can't shrug off its responsibility. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, elections were held in one phase. Why elections were conducted in eight phases in Bengal, to kill the people of the state?" she asked.
As per the union health ministry, West Bengal has 88,800 active cases currently, while 10,941 people have lost their lives to the deadly virus.
As many as 35 constituencies covering the district of four districts -- Malda, Birbhum, Murshidabad and Kolkata North will go to polls in the eighth and final phase of West Bengal assembly elections on Wednesday.
Amid a record spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Election Commission had decided to curtail the timings of campaigns for the remaining phases and extended the silence period to 72 hours for each of the phases.
West Bengal saw the seventh phase of polling on 34 seats on Monday. Polling for phases 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the state elections took place on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17 and April 22 respectively.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
( With inputs from ANI )
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