West Bengal civic polls to continue as per schedule

West Bengal on Monday registered recorded 19,286 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours and the case positivity rate touched an all-time high at 37.32%. While on Sunday the State had registered 24,287 new cases but the case positivity was 33.89%.

The State had recorded 16 deaths due to contagious viral infection in the past 24 hours. On Sunday, 18 persons had died due to COVID-19 infections. Kolkata continues to record highest number of infections with 5,556 infections in the past 24 hours. The case positivity rate in the city is almost 50 % , which means that one in every two persons is testing positive for the infection.

Meanwhile, even as the COVID-19 infections continues to rise, the West Bengal Election Commission in an affidavit to the Calcutta High Court informed that it is going to hold polls for four civic bodies in the State on January 22 as per scheduled. Elections to municipal corporations at Asansol, Bidhnannagar, Siliguri and Chandernagore are scheduled on January 22. The development points out those polls to these four civic bodies will be held as per schedule.

Political parties in the Opposition including the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) raised questions on how can polls be held when there are curbs on the campaign. Trinamool Congress MP and party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee had also suggested that all activities involving large scale gathering should be suspended in the State for two months.

Along with the civic polls, the State is also going to host the mega Ganga Sagar Mela. The Calcutta High Court had allowed the annual pilgrimage on the Sagar island and set up a committee comprising three members including Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari or his representatives.

During the day, the State government had approached High Court seeking that Leader of Opposition should be removed from the committee. The court has reserved its order in the issue. Meanwhile, South 24 Parganas where the annual festival is scheduled registered 1,255 new cases of infections and three deaths in the past 24 hours. The State government had also imposed local lockdown in places like Jhargram and some other towns of the State.

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