Let political parties switch to virtual rallies, says Gopalkrishna Gandhi

Electoral democracy and public health should not be “out of harmony”, he tells E.C.

April 18, 2021 05:32 pm | Updated 06:04 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo of Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

File photo of Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Sunday wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to immediately ban all political rallies and door-to-door campaigning in the State and switch to virtual rallies to avoid the spread of COVID-19 .

Also read: BJP leaders from outside campaigning in Bengal responsible for spike in COVID-19 cases, says Mamata

In his letter, Mr. Gandhi said the electoral democracy and public health should not be “out of harmony”.

“Please consider placing an immediate ban on all public rallies and door-to-door campaigning in the State till the last vote has been cast on April 29. And direct them to move to virtual campaigning. It should not be said that India’s electoral democracy and India’s public health are out of harmony,” he wrote in his letter to the CEC.

The former Governor said the surge in virus in West Bengal that has coincided with the on-going Assembly elections has jeopardised “the health of the electors, the election staff and security personnel on duty simultaneously and staggeringly”.

Also read: West Bengal Assembly elections | Mamata demoralised as BJP much ahead of TMC after five phases of polls: Shah

It places the election process at dire risk, apart from endangering public health, he said.

“Social distancing, a desideratum in the fight against the virus, is out of the question in election rallies. But very few candidates and campaigners, if any, are to be seen wearing masks either,” Mr. Gandhi said. “They are subjecting themselves and those they come in contact with, to great, in fact, potentially fatal, risk.”

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