In the wake of inconceivable gush in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission had earlier banned all victory processions on or after the day of the counting of votes.

The order copy by the Election Commission read, "In view of the surge in Covid-19 cases throughout the country, the Commission has decided to make more stringent provision to be followed during the process of Counting, in addition to exiting Broad Guidelines dated 21st August, 2020 and has directed that no victory procession after the counting on 2.5.2021 shall be permissible."

It further stated that not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorised representative to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned.

Amid reports of various political parties holding victory processions as counting of votes cast in the assembly elections to four states (West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam) and one union territory (Puducherry) is underway, the EC has asked the respective State Chief Secretaries of these states and UT to take immediate action to stop such gatherings.

The EC has taken serious note of some reports coming in of congregations of people to celebrate anticipated victory and has directed chief secretaries of all five states to file FIR in each such case, suspend SHO of the concerned police station and report action taken immediately of each such incidence.

As the counting of votes for the eight-phased West Bengal Assembly elections is underway, initial trends show the ruling Trinamool Congress seeming to have an advantage in the race as the party is leading in 202 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in 77 seats as per the initial trends.

The trends pointing towards TMC crossing the halfway mark in the state having 294 assembly seats.

The counting of votes in the state has begun on Sunday at 8 am following the Covid-19 protocol.

292 seats went to the polls in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly. Polling in two constituencies was deferred due to the death of contestants.

West Bengal went to assembly polls in eight phases on 27 March and 1, 6, 10, 17, 22, 26 and 29 April respectively.

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