Hyderabad

Aren’t COVID norms applicable to parties?

TRS activists participating in a campaign rally on the last day of filing nominations in Khammam on Sunday.  

“Don’t step out unless it is absolutely essential. Don’t crowd and attend large gatherings”, senior Health officials have been trying to drill this precaution into the minds of people. However, the decision to hold elections in five municipalities and two municipal corporations in the State goes completely against these instructions.

Elections are scheduled to be held for wards in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation and Khammam Municipal Corporation, and also in Atchampet, Nakrekal, Siddipet, Jadcherla and Kothur municipalities. The polls will be held on April 30.

At a press conference held on Saturday, Director of Public Health Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao said that cases were set to increase in the coming days. He also urged people to postpone marriages or other functions if possible, and to celebrate with close family members and friends if holding the function was inevitable.

But, the Nagarjunasagar byelection was held on Saturday, and heavy campaigning was taken up in the run up to it.

When asked whether these appeals or precautions do not apply on political parties, Dr. Srinivasa Rao said that the COVID protocols apply on parties too, and politicians should ensure these were followed at public meetings.

“Everybody has to take social responsibility. This is a pandemic. We should not aim to treat it, but prevent it. All departments and systems in government have to come together. Till the time the virus is under control we should not move. Restrict to your homes,” he said.

However, as seen during campaigning for earlier municipal elections, precautions go for a toss at mass campaigning programmes.

Surveillance during elections

The turnout for the Nagarjunasagar Assembly bypoll was 82.6%, which is the highest compared to the last 13 terms of the constituency. Prior to it, political parties held campaigning programmes. All this happened when the cases were surging.

The Health department has intensified surveillance in the constituency like increasing the number of tests to see if there is any surge in cases. Such surveillance measures would also be taken up at other places where elections will be held. Till Saturday afternoon, the Health officials did not identify any surge in the constituency.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:31:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/arent-covid-norms-applicable-to-parties/article34353334.ece

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