To ensure the safe electioneering amid the Covid-19 pandemic, candidates are not adhering to the guidelines issued by the Election Commission during the campaign and filing of nomination papers in different constituencies of Bihar, where submission of papers for the third phase started on Tuesday.
CM Nitish Kumar held virtual meetings with the voters and party workers on Monday and Tuesday. In 2 days, he talked to workers in 48 constituencies in central Bihar districts. The JD-U has planned joint rallies of the PM and the CM next week.
The firstever open election meeting in the post-announcement period held at Gaya on Sunday too was marked with the violation of standard operating procedures of Covid-19 regulations. BJP workers were seen sitting together closely and the prescribed gap of six feet was missing. Most were neither in masks nor in face shields. The party had claimed PPE kits and thermal screening of the workers was arranged before they entered the makeshift hall but on the ground it was not visible when party president JP Nadda addressed the crowd, recently.
Even at the Mahavir temple and Mahila Charkha Samit residence of Jayaprakash Narayan, where Nadda had visited, the party workers jostled with each other and were not wearing masks either.
On Tuesday, social distancing and masks were ignored at Samastipur, where Tej Pratap Yadav, elder son of RJD president Lalu Yadav went to file his nomination papers from Hasanpur. He was accompanied by the leader of opposition, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. The two brothers were wearing masks but hundreds of their supporters were without masks and no physical distancing was maintained.
Tej Pratap shifted his constituency from Mahuva in Vaishali district to Samastipur district, claiming people wanted him to contest from Hasanpur.
Same scene was witnessed at Danapur, where the RJD candidate, Ritlal Verma, went to file his papers. He entered the prohibited zone of sub-divisional magistrate office with his daughter, but thousands of his supporters accompanied him in a rally. He pleaded, “I do not know who are they,” to escape the eyes of the Election Commission observers.
In Barh, Patna City, Ara and Sasaram too, the EC guidelines were violated by the candidates and their supporters who outnumbered the prescribed 5 in mass contact programmes. No candidate was seen wearing gloves or face shields in the campaign.
Meanwhile, The EC on Tuesday kicked off the process for the third and last phase of the election on Nov 7 in 78 constituencies of 15 districts. A separate notification was issued for the Valmiki Nagar Lok Sabha byelection.