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Bengal civic body polls postponed after Mamata flags COVID-19 concern

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Kolkata:  West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday postponed the civic body elections in the state in view of the cnovel coronavirus outbreak.

The commission took the crucial decision after an all-party meeting in the evening where it discussed ruling Trinamool Congress’s proposal for the postponement of elections. The proposal was also backed by other Opposition parties.

Elections to the 111 municipal bodies in the state, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, were supposed to be held sometime in the later part of April.

These elections assumed significance it were supposed to be held exactly a year ahead of the assembly polls and hence viewed as a crucial by the political parties to taste water before the 2021 assembly elections.  

After the all-party meeting, the commission announced that all preparations for the civic elections were done, but considering the current situation in the wake of coronavirus endemic, polls were postponed as per the wishes of the state government and political parties.

 The West Bengal government earlier in the day extended till April 15 the closure of all educational institutions over the virus threat. Cinema theatres will also remain shut till March 31.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after a review meeting on Monday announced the state government would create a Rs 200-crore fund to tackle the crisis.

As many as 3.24 lakh people have been screened in Bengal, the chief minister said, adding that the state is keeping a close watch on 5,590 of them, an agency report said. Till now there have been no positive cases in the state. 

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