There is only one way to tackle the raging Covid-19 pandemic, according to Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien, and that is to prioritise three things: "Vaccine, vaccine, and vaccine". He, however, firmly blamed the central government's politics for matters worsening.
West Bengal yesterday reported 7,713 new Covid-19 cases and 34 deaths, taking the overall figures to 6.51 lakh infections and 10,540 fatalities. The state is also in the middle of a tightly fought Assembly election, with massive rallies ad roadshows being held by all political sides, mostly ignoring the pandemic protocol.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today tweeted saying he was suspending all public rallies in the state under these circumstances. He also advised other political leaders to avoid holding such events.
"I have no comments to make on Rahul Gandhi (suspending campaigns). We will stop our campaigns and we will allow Modi and Shah to campaign? We will let Bengal turn into Gujarat?" Mr O'Brien asked.
The Election Commission (EC) has now decided to curtail the timing of the campaign for the remaining phases of the election and has extended the silence period to 72 hours for each phase. In its order, the EC has said that no rallies, public meetings, street plays, nukkad sabhas, will be allowed on any day during the days of the campaign between 7 pm and 10 am.
Squarely laying the blame for the second wave on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Trinamool's Rajya Sabha MP accused the Centre for indulging in "vaccine diplomacy" when the states were desperate for them.