Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said that the Election Commission of India (ECI) should allow Covid-19 patients to vote through postal ballots either from isolation or hospital beds for the remaining three phases of the Assembly elections.
Addressing a Press conference at a private hotel in Narayanpur under the Malda police station, Miss banerjee said she would also write to the Prime Minister over what she said was “discrimination” in the prices of vaccines given to the Union ministries, state governments and private hospitals.
Miss Banerjee also announced that the vaccination process for 18-plus citizens would commence in the state from 5 May after the elections are over.
“I feel that the ECI should give a chance to willing Covid patients to cast their votes through postal ballots from hospitals or homes. As per today’s statistics, there are 51,593 persons in home isolation and 6,793 in various hospitals. We have already completed almost 93 lakh vaccinations in the state and will demand another 1 crore doses from the PM. We have also decided that no patients would be returned from hospitals and beds should be arranged for in other hospitals. Safe homes have also been linked to hospitals and a counseling of the patients by 70 doctors of the PG hospital over satellite phones will be started soon. There are almost 11,000 beds for Covid patients in the state now, and they will be increased by 2,000 more in two days,” Miss Banerjee said.
She also expressed her concerns over the prices of the vaccines and said, “I will write to the PM over the discrimination in prices of vaccines. The Serum Institute sold them at Rs 150 per unit to the Union Ministry, but it is now demanding Rs 400 from the state government and 600 from private hospitals. In times of pandemic, one should help others and not think of profits.”
Miss Banerjee also said that there were some cases of Covid infection even after taking two doses of the vaccines, but that they were less severe than other cases. Before the press briefing, Miss Banerjee held an election rally at Tulsihatta under the Chanchal police station in favour of TMC candidates in Chanchal and Harishchandrapur, Nihar Ranjan Ghosh and Tajamul Hussain, respectively, where she came down heavily on PM Narendra Modi and termed the second wave of the corona infection as “Modi-made disaster.”
Miss Banerjee said, “The second wave of Covid is not a man-made disaster, it is a Modi-made disaster. The prime minister is responsible for this situation, as they didn’t provide enough vaccines, and 65 percent of vaccines were exported abroad. This is a monumental failure of the central government.”
“We have done a lot of development work for Chanchal. The road connectivity in Malda has improved a lot. We have installed a hot water plant for the mango industry in Malda, and this plant helps us export mangoes. I would like to request the people of Malda to vote for the TMC, as for 50 years, Malda voted for the Congress. This Malda district has to play a significant role in driving the BJP out and only the TMC can do that. If you don’t want NRC-NPR, vote for the AITC. Just keep your name on the voter list and I will not let them exclude anyone from India,” she added. Miss Banerjee further said that the BJP was a party of “riot mongers” and that they “burned” Delhi and Gujarat. “They only know how to spread violence among people and make false promises,” she said.