Bengal poll schedule should be maintained, Left Front tells all-party meet on COVID

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Kolkata, Apr 16 (PTI) The Left Front on Friday told an all-party meeting called by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) over the alarming COVID-19 situation in West Bengal that the poll schedule should be maintained, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Bhattacharya said here.

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.

'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,' Bhattacharya said after the all-party meeting.

Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged the Election Commission to think about conducting polls for the remaining assembly seats at one go.

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.

Bhattacharya said that it was agreed upon at the meeting that campaigns, including public meetings, for the coming phases of the elections can be held abiding by the COVID-19 protocol.

He said that clubbing of election dates was not on the agenda.

'Someone wanted to raise the issue, but it was not discussed in detail,' the CPI(M) leader said.

Bhattacharya said that the Left Front has told the meeting that it is adhering to the COVID-19 protocol during campaigning and will continue to do so.

'There is no allegation against the Left Front that it is not following the Covid guidelines,' he said. PTI AMR NN NN