In view of the surge in COVID-19 cases, the West Bengal BJP on Friday wrote to the State Election Commission (SEC) requesting to postpone the municipality elections for a month.
“We would like to add since the notification of said elections on December 28, 2021, as per the Bulletin of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, the daily reported COVID cases jumped from 732 to 23,467 on 13 January 2022,” it said.
The BJP said that the positivity rate has also jumped from 2.35 per cent on 28 December 2021 to 32.13 per cent on 13 January 2022 in the state.
“We draw your attention to the Order of the Hon’ble High Court at Calcutta quote “Hence, we dispose of the present petition with a direction to the State Election Commission to consider the galloping speed with which the COVID cases are increasing and also to take into account the issue if holding of elections in such a situation will be in the public interest and if free and fair elections will be possible on the dates notified, and take a decision in respect of the postponement of the date of elections of aforesaid four Municipal Corporations for a short period of 4 to 6 weeks” unquote,” read the letter.
The party further said that the High Court has also directed SEC to consider the galloping speed with which the COVID-19 cases are rising.
It said that the Court has raised the issue of public interest, and the question of free and fair polls in such circumstances.
“Sir a democracy is all about its people and so are elections. No purpose will be served by exposing the voters to the risk of getting infected, to conduct elections which are already delayed by between 1.5 and 2.5 years,” it added.
It further said, “Once again Bharatiya Janata party calls upon the State Election Commission to immediately announce the postponement of the four Municipal Corporation polls due on 22 January 2022 by four to six weeks, in peoples’ interest, failing which we will hold you responsible for any adverse happening.”
Earlier on Friday, the Calcutta High Court has directed the State Election Commission to consider the postponement of four civic polls for four-six weeks due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
The court had ordered State Election Commission to clear its stand within 48 hours.
The elections of four Municipal Corporations, namely Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Chandernagore Municipal Corporation, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and Asansol Municipal Corporation were earlier slated to be held on January 22, 2022, according to an order by the State Election Commission.
However, the High Court has postponed the elections for 4-6 weeks citing that the third wave of COVID-19 has hit the state and that the life of the residents of the State will be put to threat if the elections are held.