Soon after the Election Commission announces the upcoming Assembly elections, a survey states that around 41% of the people favour banning large political rallies. Along with that, 31% of the people feel that the elections should be postponed to later.
The much-anticipated polls are set to take place in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab. However, questions were raised about the event as the country is currently seeing a rapid surge in Omicron cases, especially in the five polling states.
Muted' Carnival of Democracy'
The survey was conducted by a community-based platform named 'LocalCircles' and was reported soon after the Chief Election Commissioner's (CEC) press conference on the elections. According to The Times of India, it received over 11,000 responses from people in 309 districts. Out of this, 4172 answers came from the districts in the five polling states.
The total number of respondents was divided into 68% men and 32% women. 41% of the people supported the ban on political rallies, which the EC made until January 15. 31% of the Indians strongly believed that the elections should be held later, looking at the current situation.
Few of the respondents felt the exact opposite. 24% of them wanted Covid curbs imposed on all political parties and rallies, but they should still go one. However, a meagre number was oblivious that Omicron is in the air as 4% stated that no action should be taken as the risk is 'low'.
Equal Playing Field
The Election Commission prohibited any political rallies until January 15, and they urged the parties to conduct virtual demonstrations instead of calling in large crowds that increased the risk. Despite several appeals to postpone the elections, the Election Commission decided to keep them going with several restrictions.
Not only that, it declared the voting schedule with Uttar Pradesh having seven phases beginning from February 10 to March 7. The other four states will vote in two phases. The Union Health Ministry has asked for election officers to be considered as frontline workers as they will be administered the precautionary booster dose.
All political parties have welcomed the pandemic curbs, and however, several of them, including Congress, have urged to ensure an equal playing field. With rallies going digital, it will be interesting to see how the 'new normal' has affected the elections, known for elaborate roadshows and campaigns for months.