West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has lauded the Madras High Court's order which said that the Election Commission was 'singularly responsible' for the spread of COVID-19 in India.
Banerjee also said that the Trinamool Congress will move the Supreme Court against the EC, and sought withdrawal of central forces in the final phase of polling to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
"I welcome the Madras High Court order, which clearly said the EC cannot escape its responsibility. Both Prime Minister Modi and EC are responsible for the (current) situation (of COVID-19 spreading in the state)," Banerjee said at a meeting in North Kolkata.
"While mass pyres were lit at crematoriums, Modi was busy delivering 'Mann Ki Baat' speeches," the chief minister claimed.
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Earlier on April 26, the High Court had lashed out at the Election Commission over the conduct of assembly polls amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice S Ramamoorthy termed the poll authority as most irresponsible while hearing a public interest writ seeking directions to ensure fair counting of votes on May 2 in Karur by taking steps to ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
"Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably," the Chief Justice had said.
"I am requesting, please withdraw the around 2 lakh strong central forces drawn from COVID-hit states, who are camping in schools and colleges and safe homes, hampering management operations. 75 percent of them may be infected by the virus. Please withdraw them in the last phase," Banerjee said.
The chief minister said the TMC will move the Supreme Court after the elections against the EC on the manner in which the body was conducting polls in West Bengal. "We will tell Supreme Court. The EC did not club the poll phases despite the spike in COVID-19 cases," she said.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in West Bengal has risen from 81,466 on April 1, to over 3.52 lakh on April 25.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic