Credits: PTI / @AmitShah / Twitter
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole challenged Union Home Minister Amit Shah to dismiss the Central govt and conduct general elections in India as he responded to a claim made by the latter on COVID and elections. Nana Patole issued the challenge to the Home Minister while in response to Amit Shah purportedly saying that there was an absence of fear of Coronavirus in election-bound states. Responding to Shah's statement, Congress' Nana Patole on Tuesday dared the former to dismiss the ruling govt at the Centre and conduct general elections throughout India.
Voting for the Assembly elections that were held in a single-phase in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry concluded on April 6. Polling was also conducted in three phases for the Assam Assembly elections while West Bengal polls are being held in eight phases of which five are completed. The results of the elections will be declared on May 2. It is pertinent to point out that the 2019 general elections saw the BJP-led NDA return to power with a bigger mandate, winning 303 seats while a desolate Congress stood at a mere 52 seats.
In a bid to scale down poll campaigns amid the COVID surge, BJP on Monday announced that it has decided to cancel all its big rallies, public meetings, and programmes for the upcoming Bengal polls. BJP also announced that all Central ministers including PM Modi will hold small public meetings where not more than 500 people will be in attendance. All such meetings will strictly follow all COVID-19 guidelines. The Prime Minister will address all his remaining rallies in West Bengal on April 24.
BJP has also set a target of distributing 6 crore masks and sanitisers in these small meetings across Bengal. Launching 'Apna booth - Corona Mukt', BJP is preparing to launch dedicated COVID helpdesks and helpline numbers in all states across India. Lauding PM Modi's efforts in making India the fastest to complete 1 crore vaccinations, BJP has urged all its members to help the Centre in the nationwide vaccination drive. Moreover, 115 LED screens will be put up across the poll-bound state by the BJP.
Meanwhile, Congress' Rahul Gandhi announced the suspension of all upcoming public rallies in West Bengal on Sunday. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee followed suit and announced that she would be addressing small meetings in Kolkata ahead of the remaining phases of the West Bengal Assembly elections while cancelling other public rallies. The Left was the first to announce the suspension of public rallies in West Bengal in the wake of the surge in the COVID-19 cases being reported in India.