Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the people to continue “in line with the Kovid-19 protocol” and to vote during the final phase of the West Bengal state election.
Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have come under fire for organizing several rallies in West Bengal ahead of elections, in which thousands of people are present and fail to follow social guidelines.
Critics have accused the BJP of doing politics before public health. India is now facing a massive wave of Kovid-19 cases across the country and a nationwide shortage of oxygen.
On 22 April, the Election Commission of India tightened restrictions for the remaining phases of the West Bengal state assembly elections, banning road shows, vehicle rallies and mass gatherings with over 500 people after finding political parties and candidates. Dia, defying Kovid-19 guidelines. .
However, political parties – including the BJP – continued to hold rallies throughout the week, even as India continued to record more than 300,000 cases per day.
On Thursday, the last day of voting in West Bengal, the election opened at 7 am (9:30 pm ET) local time and is expected to close at 6:30 pm (9a ET).
Elections were held on March 27 in southern Tamil Nadu and the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Assam in the east and the Union Territory of Puducherry, voting in eight phases and ending on April 29. All votes are to be counted in May 2, with the results announced on the same day, although the Election Commission of India has banned the victory procession.
On Thursday, the Election Commission also issued guidelines to provide negative Kovid-19 test reports to all voting officials and candidates, or to take Kovid-19 vaccine supplements from May 2 onwards.