Courts Update PIL in Calcutta HC wants court to ensure COVID-safe...

PIL in Calcutta HC wants court to ensure COVID-safe polls; PM cancels visit

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Kolkata, Apr 22 (ILNS) A Public Interest Litigation has been filed by an eminent doctor of Siliguri city, Dr Vidyut Vishwas, in the Calcutta High Court, seeking the court’s intervention in conducting the West Bengal Assembly Elections in a safe and Corona-free manner.

The petitioner said that while the court cannot legally intervene to stop the elections, but it can surely intervene to protect the right to life of citizens, under Article 21 of the Constitution, a fundamental right. The court can undertake necessary intervention for that. The PIL further explained that the elections should be conducted only after adopting all measures of Corona safety.

Dr Vishwas said that after filing of the PIL, most political parties have voluntarily controlled the electoral political meetings, rallies and road shows. However, one party has said that it will not postpone the public meetings, but will reduce the gathering to 500 people.

The PIL said that every political party should understand that the common people are not taking it in good spirit, because saving lives should be the paramount objective of the government.

The sixth phase of the eight-phase Assembly elections in Bengal is being held today in the shadow of spiralling COVID-19 cases. Forty-three Assembly seats across four districts are up for polls in this phase. After today, two more phases will remain. Polling will be held there on April 26 and 29. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.

Moreover, concerns about Covid have not put a stop to campaigning. Union Minister Amit Shah will attend three poll meetings today, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has four road shows and BJP’s Subhendu Adhikari is holding three roadshows in Kolkata, which has been hit the worst by the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to be in West Bengal on Friday, addressing rallies in Malda, Murshidabad, south Kolkata and Seuli. These were supposed to have been on different dates, but they have now been packed into one day. However, in a late development, the Prime Minister cancelled his poll visits and decided to chair an important high level meeting on the Covid-19 situation instead.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold four public meetings in north and central Bengal. She will, however, not be campaigning in Kolkata. The CPM and the Congress have curtailed their campaign, citing Covid concerns.

With the surge in COVID-19 cases across India, the Trinamool Congress had submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, urging it to club together phases 6, 7 and 8, while Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury had urged the EC to defer the last three phases of the election. However, the Election Commission has turned down the requests of both the parties. 

It has to be recalled in this regard that even the EC has not been left untouched. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been working from home. ILNS\SM\SJ\RJ

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