Fourth candidate dies of Covid ahead of last phase polls in West Bengal
Samir Ghosh, 42, was an independent candidate from Baisnabnagar in Malda district, which is scheduled to go to the polls in the last and eighth phase of staggered polling on Thursday
A fourth candidate contesting the ongoing assembly polls in West Bengal amid the second Covid-19 wave died on Monday night after testing positive for the disease. Samir Ghosh, 42, was an independent candidate from Baisnabnagar in Malda district, which is scheduled to go to the polls in the last and eighth phase of staggered polling on Thursday.
Union minister Babul Supriyo, who is also contesting the polls, is among the candidates, who have tested positive for the disease in the state. Pradip Nandi, a Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate from Jangipur in Murshidabad, Congress’s Rezaul Haque, who was contesting from the same district, and Kajal Sinha, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) nominee from Khardaha in North 24 Parganas, also died of Covid-19.
West Bengal has around 95,000 active Covid-19 cases. It reported around 16,000 infections and 68 deaths on Monday.
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The lowest turnout so far (roughly 75%) in the ongoing polls was recorded in the seventh phase of elections on Monday amid surging Covid-19 infections and critical shortages of medicines and oxygen.
Elections were also held in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry in March and April and counting of votes there will take place along with that in West Bengal on May 2.
The Madras high court on Monday blamed the Election Commission (EC) for the second Covid-19 wave in the country and said that its officials should probably be tried for murder for allowing political parties to hold massive rallies without following Covid-19 norms. It warned EC that the court could even stall the counting of votes on May 2 unless it produced a blueprint on April 30 on Covid-19 protocol for it.
The Calcutta high court also last week expressed dissatisfaction over EC’s measures to enforce Covid-19 safety norms during the West Bengal assembly polls. The EC banned political campaigns at night, increased the silence period from 48 hours to 72 hours and limited election rallies to 500 people after being pulled up by the Calcutta high court.