New Delhi, Apr 18: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday cancelled all his public rallies in poll-bound West Bengal following a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
He also advised all other politicians to think about the consequences of holding large public rallies.
"In view of the COVID situation, I am suspending all my public rallies in West Bengal. I would advise all political leaders to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances," he said on Twitter.
"One has seen such a crowd of the sick and the dead for the first time," he said in another tweet in Hindi, apparently referring to the large crowds at Bengal rallies of BJP leaders.
The Congress has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for holding political rallies amid the rise in coronavirus cases in the country.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has accused the prime minister of shocking callousness for holding big political rallies in poll-bound Bengal amid the rise in COVID-19 cases.
He said the prime minister should be at his job, sitting at his desk and coordinating with chief ministers in handling the COVID pandemic.
Prime Minister Modi has been addressing public rallies in West Bengal for the eight-phase assembly elections in the state.
Lauding Gandhi for cancelling his public rallies, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said BJP must shed arrogance and follow Rahul Gandhi's steps in public health and safety.
"Leaders lead by example, Rahul Gandhi has set one by suspending election rallies in public interest - BJP leaders must follow Mr Gandhi's footsteps to end this naked dance of death being witnessed due to Covid19 explosion," he said in a tweet.
Shergill said Rahul Gandhi is leading by example by cancelling poll rallies in public health, public interest and public safety.
He said the BJP must realise that tending to people's pain is more important than election campaign.
India has been witnessing a massive surge in coronavirus cases.
A record single-day rise of 2,61,500 coronavirus infections has taken the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,47,88,109, while active cases surpassed the 18-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.