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Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday requested the Election Commission of India (ECI) to consider holding the remaining phases of state assembly elections in a single go.

“Amid an ongoing pandemic, we firmly opposed @ECISVEEP’s decision to conduct West Bengal polls in 8 phases. Now, in view of the huge surge in #COVID19 cases, I urge the ECI to consider holding the remaining phases in ONE go. This will protect the people from further exposure to #COVID19,” Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet.

Echoing similar sentiments, Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Mahua Moitra earlier in the day said, “It is certainly criminal negligence bordering on manslaughter on part of @ECISVEEP to mandate 8 phase election in WB in middle of the worst pandemic. Unbelievable that we are being put through this. Infections, deaths rising every day,” tweeted Mahua Moitra from her official Twitter account.

However, the Election Commission of India on Thursday denied any plans to club the remaining phases of the West Bengal Assembly Elections despite a surge in COVID-19 infections.

“A meeting has been called by CEO West Bengal to ask all political parties to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines mandated by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for strict compliance,” an ECI Official said to Times Now.

The fifth phase of the eight-phase West Bengal polling is due on Saturday, with the counting of votes due to be taken up on May 2.

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