PM Modi Calls Off Bengal Poll Campaign Over Covid Crisis; to Hold Virtual Rally at 5pm Tomorrow

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cancelled his election rallies scheduled for April 23 in West Bengal as the COVID-19 cases in the country rise alarmingly. He will chair high-level meetings to review the current coronavirus situation across the nation.

“Tomorrow, will be chairing high-level meetings to review the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Due to that, I would not be going to West Bengal,” the prime minister said.

PM Modi was scheduled to address 4 rallies across 4 districts and 56 assembly constituencies, a statement issued by West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said. He will now address the people of Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Kolkata virtually at 5 pm on Friday.

Following this, no further political meetings of the prime minister are scheduled in West Bengal, thus effectively ending his campaign in the state as of now. After the BJP decided to call off all big political meetings and rallies in view of rising COVID-19 cases and restrict its campaign to a maximum of 500 people in the state, Modi’s proposed meetings for Saturday were clubbed with his Friday campaign. Opposition leaders have been critical of the BJP for the big rallies of its leaders at the time of surging COVID-19 cases.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister chaired a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply across the country, where he asked the top officials to work rapidly on increasing its production, boosting the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. PM also said that states must act against any hoarding of oxygen and directed officials to ensure that the oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner and called for fixing responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.

In the meeting that also discussed ways and means to boost oxygen availability amid demands from many states for an increase in its supply, Modi was told that the supply of life-saving gas to states has been steadily increasing.

The number of coronavirus cases in India hit a record daily high with over 3.14 lakh new infections being reported in a span of 24 hours pushing India's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,59,30,965, according to the ministry data updated in the morning.

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