The four-phased panchayat polls in UP, held in April, coincided with the onset of second wave in India (Image: PTI)
In what could be viewed as a fallout of the massive panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, the state's COVID-19 count has surged by around 120 percent within a month's period.
Between April 4 and May 4 - the period which witnessed the four-phased rural elections across the state - over 8 lakh new coronavirus cases were detected, as per the numbers collated from the official data by the Times of India. The overall COVID-19 count jumped to above 14 lakh in Uttar Pradesh.
In comparison, the state had reported 6.3 lakh infections in the preceding 15-month period between January 2020 and April 4, 2021.
A 120 percent surge in COVID-19 count was recorded as the state ended up detecting more cases in the 30-day period from April 4 to May 4 as compared to the past 15 months.
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The decision to conduct the panchayat polls is being questioned as it coincided with the onset of second pandemic wave in India. The elections witnessed the participation of nearly 9 crore voters, and the involvement of around 12 lakh government officials and security personnel in poll-related duties.
The voting was held on April 12, 15, 26 and 29, whereas, the counting of votes was held on May 2. The grand electoral exercise involved a contest for 3,050 zila panchayat wards, around 75,000 kshetra panchayat wards and more than 7 lakh gram panchayat wards.
The Uttar Pradeshiya Prathmik Shikshak Sangh, a state teachers' union, alleged that at least 700 state government school staff died after contracting COVID-19 during training and poll-related duty.
Under flak for giving the go-ahead for the rural elections, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the polls were held on directions of the Allahabad High Court.
Apart from UP, a surge in virus transmission rate was also reported in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala - the states where the assembly polls were held. The Madras High Court had condemned the Election Commission for allegedly failing to check the violation of COVID-19 curbs through large-scale rallies and public meetings.
"You are the only institution that is responsible for the situation today. No action against political parties taking rallies despite every order of the court. Your Election Commission should be put up on murder charges probably," the HC said on April 26.