Holding election rallies massive where massive crowd gathers in the current Covid situation could prove to be detrimental, a top official has said and told the Election Commission that such events should not be held.
NITI Aayog member and India’s Covid Task Force chief VK Paul’s advice to the EC comes in the wake of fast rising Covid cases in the country, with the recently discovered variant Omicron raising threat levels.
The Election Commission however is not likely to take any action or prevent such gatherings, as, according to an India Today report, it has said that political parties should stop such large-scale rallies and roadshows “on their own”.
The Commission has asked election officials in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur to prepare for the Assembly elections, by covering maximum population with the vaccination, ensuring all officials and workers are vaccinated,
A significant part of the eligible population is yet to be vaccinated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur but Uttarakhand and Goa are nearing 100 per cent vaccination.
The rapidly rising Covid cases bring back memories of last year’s second wave which struck the country on the back of Assembly elections in five states, especially West Bengal, which was spread out over eight phases, increasing the threat due to more rallies over a longer period of time.
The election commission done little to curb gatherings during the campaigning phase but banned celebrations after the election results were announced. It came under strong criticism from various quarters, especially the Calcutta High Court which termed the election gatherings super-spreader events.
Top election officials have met Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and discussed the situation.