TMC MLA dead, four contestants ailing as Bengal votes under Covid cloud

A SITTING TMC MLA succumbed to Covid-19 on Saturday, after the death of two West Bengal poll contestants earlier, as the state turned out in large numbers to cast votes for the fifth phase of polling.

While masks and sanitisers were at hand, social distancing was virtually non-existent at booths across the state where more than 78% cast their ballots by 5 pm for 45 constituencies. A CRPF jawan posted at a booth in Barasat constituency in North 24 Parganas said, “Voters are given hand sanitisers and masks if they are not wearing one. But how does one maintain social distancing? There are nine booths here and every booth has a huge line of voters. If we try and maintain social distancing, there will be a law and order problem.”

At a rally in Galsi, East Burdwan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked the Election Commission (EC) for not clubbing the remaining three phases of the ongoing Assembly elections into one, as demanded by the TMC in view of the growing coronavirus numbers. “In the name of Covid restrictions, you are doing whatever the BJP demands,” she said, adding that the curbs on campaigning in the evening were announced “purposely to reduce the number of my campaign meetings”.

Banerjee condoled the death of Congress Samsergunj candidate Rezaul Haque and Revolutionary Socialist Party Jangipur nominee Pradip Kumar Nandi, who tested positive for Covid-19. On Saturday, TMC sitting MLA from Murarai constituency in Birbhum, Abdur Rahman,…

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