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Lockdown for citizens, election campaigning for politicians

Election campaigning in India is in full swing even when the country is facing the second wave of Covid-19 cases. The elections have seen politicians hold massive rallies and ignore the pandemic.

With 1,68,912 fresh Covid cases, India has registered Biggest-Ever One-Day Spike while the recoveries have surged to 1,21,56,529, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The government termed the next four weeks as being “very critical”.

This comes at a time when most people in the country have assumed that the pandemic is over. This is especially true when it comes to politicians who in election season have completely ignored the pandemic by conducting huge rallies with large swaths of supporters in attendance.

The rallies have attracted tens of thousands of “mask-less” supporters jostling for space; common sense dictates that this can easily be linked to the recent surge in cases while politicians completely ignore their own guidelines and the repercussions of their negligent actions.

The Health Minister of Assam was recently criticised on social media for saying that there was no need for masks in the state and that wearing one hurts businesses like beauty parlours.

A more infectious variant of the virus, termed as “double mutant” by officials has been attributed to have played a role in the recent surge, some Epidemiologists say. The new variant is named “double mutant” because it has characteristics of two already identified variants.

The variant was found in more than 200 samples in Maharastra, the worst-hit state in the second wave of coronavirus.

According to the experts, this number to be grossly underestimated which means India could have many millions of more people infected but are not reported. 

Mass Spreader election rallies

It is not inappropriate to term these massive election rallies packed with “mask-less” supporters as being “mass spreader events” as they meet all conditions of a perfect place for the virus to spread.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the next 4 weeks “very critical” and urged citizens to follow covid guidelines yet the PM himself held 23 election rallies during the present election seasons and more lined up for the ongoing phases of Bengal elections.

The Modi government who are one hand promoting “Digital India” are not fully utilising it and has been conducting in-person rallies. Many believe that it is a perfect opportunity for the PM to display the effectiveness of the internet and conduct digital rallies with people over the internet rather than risk the mass spreading of the virus in live events.

These rallies are attended by large swaths of supporters standing in close proximity to see the politicians speak. It seems all the party have forgotten that the world is dealing with the virus and we are in a very critical situation. We are at a most crucial juncture in terms of dealing with the virus, and we have to understand our respective responsibilities. However, it is also important for the government to not be negligent of their responsibilities and work in direction of dealing with the virus. As and when the election will come to an end, cases in these four poll-bound states will surge exponentially due to the massive rallies being conducted during these tough times. 

The issue is not just with rallies but also the general attitude of politicians who seem unfazed by the crisis and are more interested in fulfilling their agenda.

The issue needs serious consideration by the politicians, the current surge is a major cause of concern as the economy is suffering tremendously and the country cannot afford another lockdown, it is high time for politicians to come together and follow the advisory themselves. 

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