Taking a serious view of the Covid-19 situation, the Election Commission today decided to curtail campaigning for the remaining phases of the state Assembly elections 72 hours before polling and prohibited all kinds of rallies, meetings and roadshows from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. beginning today in view of the spurt in coronavirus cases.

The move came on the heels of an all party meeting convened by the Election Commission to exchange views with representatives of 10 recognised political parties in view of the Covid surge and Calcutta High Court’s recent observation.

The EC had previously ordered a 72-hour ‘silence period’, instead of the normal 48 hours, before the fifth phase of polling tomorrow scheduled tomorrow in the wake of the deadly violence in Cooch Behar during the fourth phase.

A similar silence period will now apply for the remaining phases. Earlier, during the all party meeting convened by the state chief election officer today to exchange views with political parties regarding the spurt in Covid-19 cases, while the Trinamul Congress demanded clubbing of the last two phases, the BJP and the Sanjukta Morcha  rejected the idea.

After the meeting at Bedi Bhavan, Partha Chatterjee, TMC general secretary said the party was ready to adhere to the Covid protocols mandated by Calcutta HC while campaigning “because our party felt it necessary that to prioritise human lives.”