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Assembly Election 2022 | Political rallies continue despite COVID-19 curbs

The coronavirus is still spreading rapidly through India, prompting anxiety as the elections attract millions to polling booths. Balloting will take place in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. The polls end on March 7 and results are to be declared on March 10.

February 08, 2022 / 02:24 PM IST
The order by Election Commission of India in January was clear and driven most by India’s past experience: Political rallies — a staple of Indian elections — were to be halted immediately. (Source: AP)
The order by the Election Commission of India in January was clear and driven most by India’s past experience: Political rallies — a staple of Indian elections — were to be halted immediately. (Source: AP)
Enormous gatherings during state elections last year contributed to a devastating coronavirus surge that left the country's feeble health system battered. And another surge driven by the omicron variant had already arrived. (Source: AP)
Enormous gatherings during state elections last year contributed to a devastating coronavirus surge that left the country's feeble health system battered. And another surge driven by the omicron variant had already arrived. (Source: AP)
Suddenly, the colorful and often raucous rallies were curtailed. Life-size cardboard cutouts of politicians faced deserted rally venues. Rows and rows of chairs had no one sitting in them. And the loudspeakers which were to relay the speeches of politicians went silent. Often, they were maskless as they distributed election materials to voters. (Source: AP)
Suddenly, the colourful and often raucous rallies were curtailed. Life-size cardboard cutouts of politicians faced deserted rally venues. Rows and rows of chairs had no one sitting in them. And the loudspeakers which were to relay the speeches of politicians went silent. Often, they were maskless as they distributed election materials to voters. (Source: AP)
Some politicians rode atop packed trucks and cars that made their way through winding streets. (Source: AP)
Some politicians rode atop packed trucks and cars that made their way through winding streets. (Source: AP)
Others walked on foot, smiling for the cameras with hands folded in greeting, wading through jostling crowds. (Source: AP)
Others walked on foot, smiling for the cameras with hands folded in greeting, wading through jostling crowds. (Source: AP)
Social distancing didn't exist. Politicians were followed by thousands of supporters who flouted health protocols, rendering the ban on rallies almost meaningless. (Source: AP)
Social distancing didn't exist. Politicians were followed by thousands of supporters who flouted health protocols, rendering the ban on rallies almost meaningless. (Source: AP)
The coronavirus is still spreading rapidly through India, prompting anxiety as the elections attract millions to polling booths. Balloting will take place in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. The polls end March 7 and results are to be declared on March 10. To tackle the spread of the virus, most political parties have switched to virtual campaigning but some are still continuing with rallies despite COVID-19 curbs. (Source: AP)
The coronavirus is still spreading rapidly through India, prompting anxiety as the elections attract millions to polling booths. Balloting will take place in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. The polls end on March 7 and results are to be declared on March 10. To tackle the spread of the virus, most political parties have switched to virtual campaigning but some are still continuing with rallies despite COVID-19 curbs. (Source: AP)
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