India

"Corona Is Gone," Declares BJP's Bengal Chief At Crowded Rally

Coronavirus is gone, the BJP's top leader in Bengal declared at a public rally.

New Delhi:

Elections in Bengal are just months away now and the state's BJP unit appears to have recruited the coronavirus in its campaign against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. "Corona is gone," the BJP's top leader in Bengal declared at a public rally on Thursday, at a time the country is hitting record spikes in coronavirus cases. Dilip Ghosh claimed that Mamata Banerjee was only "pretending" the virus is around and imposing lockdowns for the sole purpose of blocking BJP rallies ahead of elections due next year.

"Corona chole gechhe (Coronavirus is gone). Didimoni (Mamata Banerjee) is just pretending and imposing lockdowns so that the BJP can't organise meetings and rallies in the state. No one can stop us," Dilip Ghosh, Bengal BJP chief, said at a rally in Dhaniakhali.

India has crossed 45 lakh coronavirus cases with 96,551 new infections and 1,209 deaths in 24 hours, a record so far. Bengal has close to 2 lakh infections and over 3,700 deaths.

In his latest comments on the Covid-19 crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people not to take coronavirus lightly and follow rules of wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing until scientists developed a vaccine.

But a member of his own party seemed to undermine the threat as he addressed a crowded public meeting at a time other top leaders have switched to online rallies. The BJP had, earlier this year, relentlessly attacked the state's ruling Trinamool over Bengal's worsening virus crisis, saying it had deliberately underreported cases and deaths.

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The BJP's national chief JP Nadda also targeted Mamata Banerjee yesterday, calling her government "anti-Hindu" for ordering a Covid lockdown on August 5 - the date of the ground-breaking ceremony for a Ram temple at Ayodhya. She did it "to prevent people from being part of the occasion at local level," said Mr Nadda, but at the same time eased restrictions in the state on July 31 for Eid al-Adha.

"This shows the state's policies are driven by an anti-Hindu mind-set and appeasement politics. The public should be told about (this)," the BJP chief claimed, adding, "Our vote percentage is continuously increasing (and) in the next election we have to overthrow the Trinamool Congress government".