Hyderabad: With the campaign for the ensuing Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections reaching fever pitch, the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) have gone unheeded, with people gathering in huge numbers at rallies without wearing masks or caring for social distancing.
Several senior leaders including Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president K.T. Rama Rao, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president Revanth Reddy, BJP Telangana president Bandi Sanjay, Nizamabad MP Dharmapuri Aravind are taking up roadshows and even proudly announcing the huge turnout.
During the nominations too, several candidates, especially those from TRS and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) took out rallies with a huge number of supporters in attendance.
At the time of announcement of the schedule, State Election Commissioner Parthasarathi made it clear that the GHMC elections will be held as per ECI issued COVID-19 guidelines. The ECI mentions: “Public gatherings/ rallies may be conducted subject to adherence to extant COVID-19 guidelines.”
The ECI also provided for penalization in the case of non-compliance with the guidelines too. It said: “Anybody violating instructions on COVID-19 measures will be liable to proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.”
Telangana had reported 921 new COVID-19 infections and four fatalities on Monday taking the overall toll to 1,437 and the cumulative number of positive cases so far to 2,65,049. As of Monday, there were 11,047 active Covid-19 cases in the State. The highest number of cases are reported from GHMC (146).