West Bengal on Sunday registered a record number of 15,889 COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, with one more candidate who stood in the polls succumbing to the virus. The State has recorded 57 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Kajal Sinha, Trinamool Congress candidate from the Khardah Assembly, died at a city hospital. The 59-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 a day before the Khardah constituency went to polls on April 22. With his death, three candidates who were in the poll fray have succumbed to COVID-19. Earlier, Saymukt Morcha candidates from Shamsherganj and Jangipur in the Murshidabad district died after testing positive for COVID-19 and before their constituencies went to polls .
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described Mr. Sinha as a true soldier of the Trinamool Congress and expressed the hope that the TMC would win the seat when votes were counted.
“Very, very sad. Shocked. Kajal Sinha, our candidate from Khardaha, succumbed to Covid. He dedicated his life to serving people & just fought a tireless campaign. He was a long serving committed member of @AITCofficial. We will miss him. My condolences to his family & his admirers,” Ms. Banerjee tweeted.
Addressing a workers’ gathering during the day, the CM took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Maan ki Baat’ programme with: “Who is interested in your ‘Mann Ki Baat’? People now want to hear ‘COVID ki baat’.”
She alleged that about 2 lakh Central forces staying in the State were going from district to district and spreading the virus. Ms. Banerjee said that the personnel were themselves not sure about their health as RT-PCR tests had not been made available to them.
The State government has taken a number of steps, including making masks mandatory in public places, and RT- PCR tests for passengers coming from different parts of the State. The State government’s Enforcement Department conducted raids in parts of the city to check illegal storage of medical oxygen cylinders. Till late Sunday evening, there were no reports of a shortage of oxygen supply in the city hospitals.
The spike in COVID-19 infections comes a day before 34 Assembly constituencies across five districts of the State are going to polls in the seventh phase. About 86 lakh voters are likely to exercise their franchise across these seats. The Election Commission has deployed 796 companies of Central forces for this phase of polling.