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The Election Commission came under criticism of the TMC, with Mamata Banerjee and Mahua Moitra pointing out that West Bengal did not want an eight-phase election. Banerjee said, “Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed EC’s decision to conduct West Bengal polls in eight phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in Covid-19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in one go. This will protect the people from further exposure to Covid-19.”

Moitra said, “It is certainly criminal negligence bordering on manslaughter on part of the Election Commission to mandate 8 phase election in WB in middle of worst pandemic.”

The Chief Election Commissioner of West Bengal on Thursday directed officials and all the political parties to ensure strict compliance of the COVID-19 guidelines ahead of the fifth phase of polling, which is to be held on Saturday. The officials were asked to ensure that voters maintain at least 2-feet distance at the polling booths in view of worsening COVID-19 situation.

However, Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee have poll campaigns schedules for Friday. Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda too have programmes scheduled in West Bengal.

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