Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said they were cancelling their poll rallies in the state, which is in the midst of assembly elections, in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases.
"Tomorrow, will be chairing high-level meetings to review the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Due to that, I would not be going to West Bengal," Modi tweeted.
He was to have addressed four rallies in West Bengal tomorrow ahead of the seventh and eighth phases of polling in the state's assembly elections.
The BJP said Modi would address the voters virtually tomorrow evening.
A little later, Mamata said on Twitter: "In the wake of upsurge in #COVID19 cases across the country and the Election Commission of India order dated 22nd April, 2021, I am cancelling all my prescheduled meetings and we will reach out to the people virtually."
Meanwhile, Modi today chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi reviewing the oxygen supply situation.
Modi spoke about the need to work rapidly on three fronts: increasing production of oxygen, speeding up distribution and using "innovative" ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.
The officials told the PM that oxygen supply to different states is steadily increasing. Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 tonnes per day of medical oxygen, the Indian government has from today allocated 6,822 tonnes a day to these states, an official statement said.
It was noted that in the last few days, availability of medical oxygen has been increased by about 3,300 tonnes a day with contributions from private and public sector steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries.
Modi directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happen in a smooth, unhindered manner and spoke about the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.
The PM stressed on the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen to the states. It was discussed that railways are being used for rapid and non-stop long-distance transport of tankers.
The PM also stressed that the states should come down heavily on hoarding.
Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress led by Mamata and Bharatiya Janata Party are involved in a head-to-head battle for power in West Bengal election.