Bengal civic polls: SEC says no to big rallies, max 500 people for open ground campaign

News Desk: At a time when oppositions are asking to cancel the civic polls due to the rise in COVID cases in the state, State Election Commissioner Saurav Das on Monday held a meeting with Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi and Home Secretary BP Gopalika and said that the four civic polls will take place on January 22.

According to Election Commission sources, no big rallies will be allowed in all the four places including Bidhannagar, Chandanagar, Asansol and Siliguri.

“Maximum of five people will be allowed with the candidates to do door-to-door campaigning. No big rallies or campaigning will be allowed. In an open ground a maximum of 500 people will be allowed to gather for the campaign” said the sources.

The sources also mentioned that the civic polls cannot be cancelled as the municipal bodies are due for over two years.

“All poll campaigns will be over before 72 hours from the polling date and on the poll date state and city police will be deployed in all the booths and CCTV will be installed in all the booths” further mentioned the sources.

It has been learned from state secretariat Nabanna sources, covid patients are being marked so that they don’t visit the polling booths to cast their votes.

“Special arrangements are being made for the covid affected patients and they will likely be casting their votes from their house. Talks are on that the people wearing PPE kits will visit the house of covid patients to take their votes” said Nabanna sources.

Meanwhile, BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh claimed that the poll should be postponed over the ‘alarming’ covid positive rates in the state.

“During the Assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that due to BJP central leaders covid’s second wave entered the state. Now when everyone can see the third wave of the pandemic they are still keen on conducting the civic polls. TMC was then afraid of losing the Assembly for which they had cried foul and now to mark their victory forcibly they are conducting polls” said Ghosh.

Slamming Ghosh, TMC spokesperson and state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said that the saffron camp should also stop Assembly elections in five states scheduled this year.

However, Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also alleged that the SEC is working at the behest of the state government for which they are keen on holding polls amidst pandemic.