Kolkata: In the remaining three phases of the West Bengal elections, the Election Commission has reduced the time of campaigning from 10 am to 7 pm. With this, now a decision has been taken to end the election campaign 72 hours before the poll.
The EC has asked all the candidates and political parties to adhere to the Covid guidelines laid down by the commission and also made it clear that it would be the responsibility of the political parties to provide masks and sanitisers to all the people attending the political rallies and meetings.
The EC said that candidates and political parties shall ensure absolute, repeat absolute, adherence to COVID-19 guidelines in letter and spirit. “Violations, if any shall be sternly dealt with and action, including criminal action, taken as per extant legal framework,” it said.
The Commission has given absolute authority to the District Election Officers to enforce Covid guidelines and will cancel the meetings and rallies if the rules laid down by the commission are not followed.
The Commission also took a serious view against repeated violations by star campaigners/political leaders/candidates who are supposed to be torchbearers for the campaign against COVID-19, grossly violating COVID-19 protocols, thereby exposing themselves as well as the public to the danger of infection.
The EC had given a strict warning earlier this month against violation of COVID-19 guidelines and said it would not be hesitant in banning public meetings and rallies.