Will Omicron force political parties to run online campaigns ahead of UP polls?
As Omicron cases rise in different states across India, assembly elections scheduled for early next year in five states may have to be held in a different way to what is normally done. If Covid-related restrictions are imposed on public gatherings close to the election, political parties will have to adapt to virtual support for their campaign rallies.
THIS REVIEWS THE SITUATION
The Election Commission is set to visit Uttar Pradesh to review preparations for elections in the big state. On Monday, the Electoral Commission held a meeting with the Union Health Ministry and asked the Center to provide vaccination is intensified in ballot-related states. However, no decision to postpone the poll has yet been taken.
According to sources, it was said at the meeting that first-dose vaccination coverage in the five poll-bound states, including Uttar Pradesh, is satisfactory. Additionally, it was noted that a decision on campaign rallies will be taken after the model code of conduct comes into effect.
Speaking on the uncertainty surrounding the elections, Uttar Pradesh Minister and BJP leader Mohsin Raza said virtual rallies were an option for his party.
“Virtual media was also used in the Panchayat election. The BJP is ready to campaign according to the guidelines of the Election Commission. The government has taken several measures to control the Covid situation and is ready for any circumstance,” he told India Today.
On the other hand, Samajwadi party leader Abhishek Mishra said, “The UP government has failed to control the Covid-19 and that is why so many deaths have occurred in the state. The campaign will be carried out according to the directives of the Electoral Commission. Virtual support is an option.
Congress Spokesperson Surendra Rajput said, “The Congress party will follow the guidelines and decision made by the Election Commission and the Government of India. Given the number of Omicron cases, the government must ensure that a decision is made in favor of the Constitution and the people.
ARE VIRTUAL RALLIES EFFECTIVE?
Speaking to India Today, political analyst Pradeep Kapoor said political parties are likely to refrain from holding virtual rallies as they do not serve the purpose of connecting with the masses. He said the election commission is likely to impose Covid-19 guidelines and restrict the number of people at physical gatherings, instead of banning them altogether.
The question remains: will Omicron eclipse election fever in Uttar Pradesh?
READ ALSO : Omicron, law and order: How the Election Commission plans to overcome hurdles ahead of 5-state elections