Do not leave counting centres until the process is completed, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee directed candidates and counting agents of her party across the state during a video meeting on Friday. Banerjee could be apprehensive about North Bengal and Junglemahal seats. BJP had won the Lok Sabha seats here with a substantial lead in several assembly constituencies.
Junglemahal districts include Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore and Jhargram. However, she betrayed no such nervousness during the meeting, according to a participant. Banerjee exuded confidence and told the candidates that Trinamool would win for the third time with a two-thirds majority.
She asked candidates and counting agents to maintain Covid-19 protocols and not to accept any snack or drink provided by election commission officials and rival party men. Incidentally, EC has made RTPCR negative tests or two vaccination certificates necessary for entering counting stations. Any victory rallies and celebrations have also been banned, keeping in view the Covid-19 situation. “The main instruction was not to leave counting centres whatever the trend was. We have been asked to stay in the counting centre till the end, whatever be the result,” a counting agent said on condition of anonymity.
Several other post-poll strategies were also discussed at the meeting. Counting agents and candidates have been given two helpline numbers. Candidates and counting agents will be able to contact the Trinamool control room, if they face any problem on counting day and if there is any need to resolve any problem. Polling for eight-phase polls in Bengal ended Thursday and counting for the 294 seats will be on Sunday. Counting of votes in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu will also be held on the same day.