Amid spike in COVID cases, civic polls in Bengal as per schedule

Elections to Bidhannagar, Siliguri, Asansol and Chandernagore municipal corporations are scheduled for January 22

The West Bengal State Election Commission has decided to go ahead with elections to four municipal corporations despite COVID-19 cases touching a new peak for the past few days.

Elections to the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, Siliguri Municipal Corporation, Asansol Municipal Corporation and the Chandernagore Municipal Corporation are scheduled for January 22. About 17 lakh voters can exercise their franchise in these elections. On Monday, officials of the State Election Commission held a meeting with the State administration on the poll preparations. The process of filing of nominations is continuing as per the earlier notification issued by the Commission. Elections to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation were held on December 19.

The State government had on Sunday announced restrictions in the wake of rising COVID-19 infections, which included closure of all educational institutions, restrictions on local train and flight services from both from domestic and international destinations.

“In modification of the earlier order, local train services will now be extended up to 10 p.m. in place of 7 p.m.,” a note from the State government said on Monday. During the day, there was chaos at railway stations as there was a rush to board the train before 7 p.m. There were also a few incidents of people falling off from crowded local trains.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 positivity rate in the State rose to 19.59%.

West Bengal registered 6,078 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

Thirteen people have died due to the virus in the past 24 hours on Monday. Eight persons had died of the infection on Sunday.

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