The West Bengal Election Commission on Saturday postponed polls to four municipal bodies to next month amid rising coronavirus cases in the state, PTI reported

Polls to municipal corporations of Siliguri, Chandernagore, Bidhannagar and Asansol will now take place on February 12 instead of January 22, according to a state Election Commission notification. Polling will take place between 7 am to 5 pm.

Earlier on Saturday, the West Bengal government had sent a letter to the state Election Commission, agreeing to reschedule the polls.

The decision came two days after the Calcutta High Court asked the state panel to consider postponing civic polls by four to six weeks. The court had urged the election body to decide on the matter within 48 hours.

West Bengal has been witnessing a steady rise in cases over the last few weeks.

On Friday, the state reported 22,645 new cases, of which Kolkata recorded 6,867. The positivity rate stood at 31.14%.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal State Election Commission has prohibited large rallies or roadshows ahead of elections. It has allowed a maximum of 500 people to attend political party meetings in open spaces. The meeting halls can only be filled up to 50% of their seating capacity.

Last year, Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry were held amid the devastating second wave of the coronavirus.

While the country battled with a record surge in Covid-19 cases for weeks and hospitals ran out of beds and oxygen, politicians held election rallies attended by thousands, with little or no physical distancing or usage of masks.



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