Five states, which witnessed heavy campaigning by political parties, are now having to deal with an over 300 per cent spike in fresh COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days.
West Bengal with a particularly long-drawn, eight-phase voting process, which will conclude only on April 27, has been impacted the most. The state has registered a 378 per cent hike in COVID cases, with the number having shot up by 30,230, reported NDTV.
The number of cases in Assam, which had a three-phase voting schedule, went up by 331 per cent, while Puducherry saw a 175 per cent increase and Tamil Nadu saw cases climbing up by 173 per cent.
Kerala, one of the worst affected states in this pandemic, went to polls on April 6. The UDF, LDF and BJP campaigned hard in the state holding massive rallies to drum up support. This southern most state saw an 84 per cent surge in new cases in the past 14 days.
The Election Commission was vigilant and had all the COVID safety protocols in place such as hand sanitisers and followed social distancing at the polling centres. But, it was of no use since political parties threw caution to the winds and held meetings and marches without masks and neither did they follow social distancing norms. The State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had even claimed that Assam had no COVID-19 problem and that even wearing a mask was unnecessary, said media reports.
This blatant flouting of safety norms compelled the Election Commission to warn political parties last week that they will ban candidates and star campaigners from conducting rallies if they fail to adhere to Covid protocols.
The outcome of this lackadaisical approach has led to this significantly large spike in COVID cases in poll-bound states.