Polls the super spreader

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The situation is turning from bad to worse in Uttar Pradesh, with the number of deaths increasing every day. With other states calling for lockdowns and night curfews to contain the virus, UP is busy conducting its panchayat polls. Over hundred teachers succumbed to the virus in the last fortnight on poll duty in UP. Many are now calling the UP panchayat polls as a super spreader. With the state already struggling to contain the virus, the election has just added fuel to fire. The election serves the right platform for the virus to infect more people and fast. Though many organisations did speculate over the risks of holding elections at this juncture nothing seems to be stopping elections in the country. Some organisations including Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) have demanded postponement of the remaining phases of panchayat poll or vaccination for all on duty to help save the precious lives, but no steps for the same have been taken yet. A RSM spokesman informed that in the letter sent to CM Yogi Adityanath they have demanded for the postponement of polls and insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to teachers involved in poll duty.

Experts believe that corona is a bomb waiting to explode in rural areas once the elections for panchayats are over. Reports flooding in say that not only teachers, many senior government officials conducting the polls have also been infected by the virus. Some have even lost their lives. The Allahabad High Court noted these reports and sent a notice to the state government asking it as why no action should be taken against the State Election Commission for its failure to conduct the polls while maintaining Corona guidelines. Generally speaking, the state election commission should have simply postponed the elections given the rising number of cases across the country. Why did they go ahead with elections in such times and even if they did, why did they not take extra precautions making sure that protocols are followed strictly? These are some of the questions that arise in any man’s mind. All in all, the election commission seems to be least bothered with the fact that the state itself has a daily figure of more than thirty thousand infections.

Though the chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been claiming adequate reserve of oxygen and hospital beds, yet the ground reality speaks otherwise. People are being reported to be lined in hospitals for a bed, while the cremation centres are running out of firewood. Many organisations along with the opposition have been voicing out against the deteriorating situation of the state. The criticality of the state’s condition may be understood from the fact that, one of BJP’s own MP was reported to be rejecting his state government’s claims about the availability of oxygen and hospital beds. The MP has not only been highlighting this fact but has also written a letter to the CM apprising him of the non-availability of oxygen, hospital beds and black marketing of important lifesaving medicines. Whatever be the actuality of the moment, it is a time to come together, be transparent and unitedly stand against the virus. Hiding facts and ignoring the risks will only worsen our situation.

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