West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help in procuring COVID-19 vaccines in the state. She said that people, in the ensuing elections, will be forced to go to the polling stations without any vaccination coverage. "We feel that it is equally important to reach out to them with a rapid vaccination programme immediately for interest of health and well being of all concerned with the election process," Banerjee said.
Under the current circumstances, the chief minister said that the Bengal government has decided to procure adequate number of vaccines for the members of the public at large. "We would request you to kindly take up the matter with appropriate authority so that state government is able to purchase the vaccines from designated points on a top priority basis because the West Bengal government wants to provide vaccination free of cost to all the people," she said.
Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday announced the second phase of the vaccination drive in the country from March 1. Under the drive, people above 60 years of age and those more than 45 having comorbidities will be given vaccine doses.
Election to the 294-member West Bengal assembly is due in April-May. The Election Commission of India (ECI) will follow the Bihar model, taken up last year for conducting the assembly polls amid the coronavirus pandemic, during the upcoming election in West Bengal. The ECI has already started inoculation of the officials involved with the polling and the entire process would get over before the election starts.