Saturday, December 9, 2023

Polls amid Covid-19: EC extends ban of rallies till Jan 22

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Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission of India held a crucial meeting on allowing election rallies in poll-bound states today. After much deliberation and discussion, EC has extended the ban of political rallies and roadshows in poll-bound states till January 22. However, it has allowed parties to hold indoor meetings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50% capacity of the hall.

The crucial meeting comes at a time when the country is witnessing a massive peak in the number of Covid-19 cases. In the past 24 hours, India has recorded 2,68,833 fresh new Covid-19 cases and 402 fatalities. Of the total infections, 6,041 cases are of the highly contagious Omicron variant. The positivity rate now stands at 16.66 percent.

Despite Section 144 being imposed in most states amid the surge, some of the politicians continue to give a blind eye to the Covid norms. An FIR was registered against the Samajwadi Party on Friday for violating the election model code of conduct and Covid-19 protocol. The action was taken after a crowd gathered at the SP office for the joining programmed of former BJP Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya, Dharam Singh Saini and five other MLAs including Bhagwati Sagar, Vinay Shakya, Roshan Lal Verma, Mukesh Verma and Brajesh Kumar Prajapati who got inducted into the SP. Samajwadi Pary UP chief Naresh Uttam Patel, said that it was a virtual event inside their party office. They didn’t call anyone but people came.

Meanwhile, a case has also been registered against Uttarakhand Cabinet Minister Dhan Singh Rawat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chamoli district president Raghuveer Bisht and 11 others in Chamoli for violation of Section 144, on complaint of flying squad constituted by the Election Commission. As per the complaint, a program was organised at the BJP office in Gopeshwar to take suggestions from the public in the letter box regarding the manifesto and vision document ahead of 2022 assembly elections on Thursday without permission.

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