West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday she will call upon the Election Commission to stop the BJP from bringing “outsiders” during campaigning, squarely blaming the saffron party for exacerbating the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Trinmool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, during a public meeting in Nadia district, said the BJP brought people from “worst-hit” states like Gujarat for erecting marquees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll rallies.

“I will tell the EC to stop the inflow of outsiders from states like Gujarat who are responsible for the COVID-19 spread in Bengal. “We have nothing to say if the PM or other leaders come for campaigning… Why should the BJP bring people from worst-affected states to set up podiums and pandals for rallies,” she said.

Of the fresh cases, Kolkata recorded the highest at 1,615. Kolkata and North 24 Paraganas are among the districts that will vote in the fifth phase on Saturday. Kolkata registered seven deaths, followed by six from North 24 Parganas, five from South 24 Paraganas and one from Howrah, Jalpaiguri, Malda and Birbhum in the last 24 hours.

The state will witness its fifth phase of polling on Saturday (April 17) which will decide the fate of 342 candidates.

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