Coronavirus outbreak: TMC, BJP want Bengal civic polls deferred
West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the principal opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said on Sunday that they wanted the statewide civic polls slated in April to be deferred to avoid political campaign at present when preventing the spread of COVID – 19 tops the priority.
On Monday, all parties are scheduled to attend a meeting at the office of the chief election commissioner to discuss the elections in about 100 civic bodies across the state being seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2021 Assembly elections. Both TMC and BJP said they would officially raise the matter before the state election commission on Monday.
“We will appeal to the State Election Commission of West Bengal to defer the upcoming municipal/corporation elections. In fighting this pandemic, political parties must stand shoulder to shoulder with the people we represent,” TMC said in its statement.
“Elections will come and go. Politics must take a backseat when society is faced with such a great threat. Political parties must come together and join hands to ensure social well-being,” the statement reads.
BJP state unit president Dilip Ghosh, too, said that the party wanted the elections deferred. “The priority now should be in checking the spread of the disease. Elections should be deferred,” Ghosh said while addressing journalists.
Incidentally, on Sunday evening, BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda asked the party’s state unit to refrain from undertaking political programmes and focus on awareness campaign on novel coronavirus.
The instruction from Nadda came on a day BJP’s top-rung leaders in the state, including members of the Parliament and the Assembly, were all seen leading rallies of hundreds of people as they hit the campaign trail for the civic elections.
TMC leaders, too, organised events across the state to felicitate the party’s veteran workers as part of the party’s month-long campaign ahead of and during the municipal elections. Hundreds of people attended those events held in all of Bengal’s 294 Assembly constituencies.