Kolkata: On April 14, India recorded almost two lakh new Covid-19 cases. Earlier in the day a political party in India, the West Bengal unit of Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPIM), sensing the seriousness of the situation, took the decision not to hold big rallies in the remaining phases of the ongoing polls in the state.
The decision has been taken due to the surge of Covid-19 cases in Bengal and outside which is putting the lives of commoners at risk of getting infected by the deadly virus especially if such large gatherings continue unabated.
CPM is contesting Bengal election in an alliance– Sanyukta Morcha along with Congress and the Indian Secular Front.
The decision has been widely appreciated, and people are reacting positively on social media.
Will BJP and TMC follow suit?
After the announcement by CPM it remains to be seen what the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah himself, and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee do about their roadshows and campaign rallies.
PM Modi and HM Shah are holding big rallies and road-shows every other day in Bengal and it seems likely that this will continue for the remaining four phases.
In fact, BJP’s national president JP Nadda too is holding multiple such rallies in the state. Similar is the situation with Mamata Banerjee, the TMC supremo, who happens to be the main campaigner for the party. She is holding big and small rallies as well as roadshows.
But after the decision of the CPM, BJP and TMC will be under scrutiny whether they too keep the concerns of the fast spreading virus on their mind or keep their focus only on the election.
Netizens, who also reflect the mood of the nation, as well as social media in general, which has become a platform to express public opinion, are flooded with Covid related, cemetery-hospital- ambulance related images and pleas for help. It is appearing on everyone’s timeline, making the ongoing medical crisis seem like a doomsday prophecy.
On Thursday, a hashtag– #ModiStopElectionRallies has been trending on Twitter.
Demand to the election commission to conduct last three phases together
Witnessing the rise of Covid-19 cases in India, people have started writing that it is time for the election campaigning to stop as they are being see as a super spreader. Demand is also being made that the remaining phases of voting be held together.
Incidentally, when the eight-phase long election was announced by the Election Commission it was received with shock and surprise by the common man and questioned even then.
Now, after the second wave of Covid-19 cases, the demand is rising to club the remaining phases together.
Pramod Gupta, a journalist writes, “Merge 6th, 7th and 8th phase polls together, enough of this nonsense.”
TMC leaders Mahua Moitra and Derek O Brien tweeted in this regard. While Mamata Banerjee clearly demanded from Election Commission to have the last three phase to be clubbed together. Now the ball is in the court of the EC and it remains to be seen whether it will put the lives of the people of India as its priority or the election rallies by political parties, especially by BJP, since others claim they never asked for an eight-phase election in Bengal and that it was BJP’s idea from the very beginning.
Meanwhile, a report by PTI, suggests that the EC has denied conducting last three phase polls together. However, commission is to hold an all party meeting on Friday in this regard.