On the last day of campaigning for seven urban local bodies in Telangana, the BJP tweeted photos of hugely crowded rallies. The post was deleted after it was panned by social media users.
The horrifying second wave of Covid has not dampened the enthusiasm for huge election rallies. On the last day of campaigning for seven urban local bodies in Telangana, the BJP – censured for its mega campaign ahead of assembly elections in five states – tweeted photos of hugely crowded rallies. The post was deleted after it was slammed by social media users.
Other parties including the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Congress too have been campaigning, violating Covid protocol.
The BJP was hugely criticised for its much-hyped campaign for the civic body elections in December where several party leaders including Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and others held massive road shows. But this time, it was back with another massive campaign for the local body polls due on April 30.
For the Warangal municipal corporation election, the BJP campaign was led by the party’s state president, Bandi Sanjay, who at a public meeting, declared that the BJP flag “must fly high in Warangal”.
Union Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy, also addressed a massive meeting in Warangal and Khammam, and told people that the Chief Minister had neglected healthcare whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved a super-speciality hospital and an oxygen plant in Warangal.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi was not far behind. Even though Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR, and his son, municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao, tested positive for Covid, other ministers were deputed for campaigning extensively in Khammam and elsewhere.
Incidentally, KCR tested positive days after he attended a massive rally for the Nagarjunasagar assembly by-election. Over 60 political leaders who attended the meeting had tested positive.
Tuesday’s rallies came a day after the Madras High Court said the Election Commission was “singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid”. “Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” the court had observed.
The sharp criticism came amid concerns that rampant violation of safety rules during election rallies in five states will turn them into super-spreader events.
Subsequently, Covid cases have shot up in the states, pushing up the countrywide daily surge to cross and stay beyond the 3-lakh mark.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Election Commission contended that it was the state disaster management authorities which were responsible for maintaining Covid safety protocols at public gatherings. The Election Commission cannot take over the task of the State Disaster Management Authority, it had added.
Telangana’s state election commission had consulted the state government on whether they would prefer to hold elections now and Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan had also sought a report after both the BJP and the Congress opposed the elections.