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Withdraw Central forces who may be Covid infected, urges Mamata

Withdraw Central forces who may be Covid infected, urges Mamata
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Kolkata: Welcoming the observation of Madras High Court that the Election Commission (EC) is singularly responsible for the second wave of the pandemic, Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee on Monday demanded immediate withdrawal of the Central forces from the state in the light of the rising Covid cases in Bengal.

"The Central forces should be sent back immediately with elections left in only 35 seats in the penultimate phase on April 29. At least 1.5 lakh Central force personnel have been brought in for the polls. If tested, at least 75 percent of them will be found Covid positive. They even themselves do not know whether they are infected or not and continues to hop from one district to another. I would like to ask why they cannot rely on the state's police to conduct the polls," she said reiterating that she would move the Supreme Court against the EC's biased attitude towards BJP that even turned the situation in Bengal worse in terms of Covid pandemic.

It needs a mention that a bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice S Ramamoorthy of the Madras High Court on Monday observed that the officers of the EC may be booked under murder charges as Covid norms were not followed during election rallies that led to this huge spike.

Banerjee's demand for withdrawal of the Central forces came when the state witnessed a hike in new Covid cases from 2,058 on the day of the third phase election (April 6) to 15,992 on the day of the seventh phase polls. The number of deaths due to the pandemic in the state has gone up to 68, the highest number of deaths in a single day, from seven in the same time period.

"I will hold the EC and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for today's situation in which people are dying in large numbers due to Covid. Mass "I welcome the observation of the Madras High Court holding the EC responsible for the abnormal surge in cases," she said while addressing a virtual election campaign in favour of seven candidates of her party from North Kolkata that are going for polls on April 29. The candidates are Nayna Bandyopadhyay (Chowringhee Assembly constituency), Atin Ghosh (Kashipur-Belgachia), Shashi Panja (Shyampukur), Sadhan Pandey (Manicktala), Paresh Pal (Beliaghata), Swarnakamal Saha (Entally) and Vivek Gupta (Jorasanko).

"The surge in Covid cases was noticed from the third phase onwards. We, immediately, wanted to club the remaining phases. But the EC did not pay heed to our requests. I am sorry to say that we want to give respect to the EC. They are openly playing for BJP and enacting as the spokesperson of

the saffron camp," she said, taking a swipe at both BJP and the EC for

bringing in 3 lakh "outsiders" and

the Central forces.

Raising allegations of terrorising people even on the day of the seventh phase polls on Monday, Banerjee said she will form the government of "Maa Mati and Manush" with a comfortable majority and ruled out all possibilities of horse-trading in Bengal like that of in many other states.

"Elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were held in a single phase and three phases in Assam. It was eight phases in Bengal as BJP directed it to do so based on mandals, their party's organisational structure," she said while addressing her last poll campaign for the 2021 Assembly elections. She complained that the poll schedule was such that she had to visit North Bengal nine times after starting her campaign 50 days ago.

She also urged her party workers and even common people to ask the Central forces to stay away, as they may spread Covid if they raid their houses as it has been planned to "illegally detain" TMC workers to keep them inactive during election hours, Banerjee said.

Raising questions on "the constitutional capacity" of the EC, Banerjee said: "They may show cause me. But I would like to say that they are following BJP's dharma instead of 'Rajdharma'. Two retired officers are operating to give favour to the BJP. Maybe, they are expecting to become Governors of some state in future."

"BJP is spending money like water. But it is sad that they don't have money for oxygen, medicines and vaccines," she added.

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