'Keep COVID beyond politics': BJP to Trinamool ahead of last phase of polling

By PTI
KOLKATA: Blaming the ruling Trinamool Congress for engaging in politics over the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country and West Bengal, the BJP on Tuesday said it is not the right time for the Centre and the state to be involved in a conflict.

BJP state spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya told reporters here that the ruling party, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is continuing its diatribe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah “unfairly blaming them for the crisis”.

“While a new state government will be formed after May 2, for the remaining days, the outgoing Trinamool Congress government should keep the COVID-19 issue beyond politics as saving lives of people is the most important thing at this juncture,” Bhattacharya said.

As per international commitment, India had to export some vaccines to the neighbouring countries but that cannot be linked to the virulent second wave of coronavirus which has engulfed other nations as well, the party spokesperson said.

Referring to the the TMC leader’s “outsider jibe” at BJP workers from other states who are campaigning for the ongoing assembly polls in West Bengal and blaming them for the rise in COVID-19 cases, the BJP leader asked “Does she consider the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to be outsiders?” Asserting that such comments are “alarming and pose a threat to the country’s integrity”, Bhattacharya said, “Many people from Bengal, including migrants, students and professionals are living in other states. The ‘outsider campaign’ of the Trinamool Congress may create adverse effect on them.”

He also alleged that the state government did not inform the Centre about its COVID-19 management and planning in past three months.

On the tirade of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the Election Commission, Bhattacharya said “Attacking EC is akin to attacking a constitutional body. Uttering EC’s name along with the BJP is unacceptable.”

Claiming that voters were happy with the polling exercise this year, Bhattacharya asked “Did anyone allege before TV cameras that we couldn’t vote? “Compare this to the situation few years back or during last panchayat and municipal elections held under State Election Commission.”

Objecting to the oft-repeated charges levelled by the Trinamool Congress against EC that clubbing the remaining three phases of assembly polls could have checked spread of COVID-19, he said, “There was no election in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh.

“Then why are those states affected by the second wave of COVID-19? The EC took all safety protocols. Did the TMC strictly abide by the guidelines in its rallies?” Rubbishing the claim made by the TMC chief about COVID-19 vaccines being given from BJP party offices in Gujarat, Bhattacharya described it “as absurd and a pack of lies.”