KOLKATA: The BJP’s West Bengal president Dilip Ghosh on Thursday claimed that the Trinamool Congress is linking the spike in COVID-19 cases with the eight-phase assembly election in the state as the ruling party has sensed imminent defeat.
West Bengal is in the eighth spot among the 10 worst coronavirus affected states and none of the other nine experienced polls, he said.
Chief Minister and TMC supremo had repeatedly urged the Election Commission (EC) to club the last three phases of the polls as COVID-19 cases surged and indicated that the poll panel did not do it at the behest of the BJP.
The eighth and final phase of polling was held on Thursday.
“Sensing imminent defeat, the TMC is desperately targeting the Election Commission linking the coronavirus surge with the multiphase polling which was required to ensure free and fair voting,” the Medinipur MP told reporters.
If large rallies and the multiple-phase election really contributed to the spike, a surge in COVID-19 cases would have been seen at Haldia where Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in March, or in the Jangalmahal region which went to polls in the initial phases, Ghosh said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also held rallies at various places but no surge was found in those areas, the BJP leader said.
Asserting that he had addressed numerous meetings throughout all the phases and tested negative for the virus several times, he said, “There cannot be a definitive link between coronavirus surge and polls and crowding. Many people including editors of media houses who sit in sanitised cabins with all precautions have been infected.”
He asked people not to be swayed by the TMC’s propaganda blaming the EC, BJP and the polls, as it was aimed at creating panic among voters.
“Let there be more in-depth studies about the reasons behind the sudden spike in COVID cases. Let doctors, experts deliberate and guide us about how to fight this menace unitedly,” he said.
Ghosh held the TMC government responsible for the lack of health consciousness among a large section of the public who do not wear mask in public places.
“The casual approach of the Mamata Banerjee government during last year’s lockdown, the frequent changing of lockdown dates and the whimsical relaxations proved that this government was not serious in tackling the issue. This resulted in lack of discipline on hygiene issues among a large section of people,” he said.
After the BJP government takes over, it will deal with the second wave of the pandemic in a serious manner and take steps in consultation with experts, Ghosh said.
He praised the EC for holding “a peaceful election in a free and fair atmosphere”.
“Excepting a single firing incident, the polls were not marked by violence,” Ghosh said apparently referring to the firing by CISF personnel at Sitalkuchi constituency in Cooch Behar district during the fourth phase of polling on April 10, in which four persons were killed.
“That incident, though unfortunate, had instilled fear among trouble makers and contributed to largely peaceful elections in later phases,” he said.
Ghosh, who predicted that the BJP will win more than 200 seats in the election for the 294-member assembly, sidestepped a question on who will be the chief minister if the saffron party forms the government.
“It will be decided by the party after the results are announced,” he said.