What lockdown? As TMC leads in 202 seats, elated supporters flout COVID-19 curbs to in Bengal; ECI seeks immediate action

As COVID-19 cases in India continue to rise, the Election Commission recently banned victory rallies and other associated celebratory events the wake of the Assembly election results. But as votes are counted for the polls held recently in four states and one union territory, many seem to have missed the memo.

In West Bengal, as early trends indicate a major win for the Trinamool Congress, jubilant supporters took to the streets in celebration. Keep in mind that the state has recently imposed a partial lockdown amid rising COVID-19 cases, restricting movement and closing down most public spaces. This however did not seem to be a deterrent for those celebrating the possibility of the Mamata Banejee-led TMC retaining power.

Visuals shared by news agency ANI showed revellers gathering in groups on Kolkata's roads and dancing and waving party flags. Similar incidents have also been reported from the other poll-bound states, with many outraged netizens tagging the election commission and calling for immediate action.

Following the news, The Election Commission of India has sought immediate action, calling for the respective State Chief Secretaries stop such gatherings.

"ECI has taken serious note of reports coming in of congregation(s) of people to celebrate anticipated victory. ECI has directed CS of all 5 states to file FIR in each such case, suspend SHO of the concerned PS and report action taken immediately of each such incidence," official spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan tweeted.

The Election Commission has also released a statement to this effect, reminding that it had imposed curbs on such celebratory activities. "The Commission has further directed that the responsible SHO(s) and other officers must be placed under suspension immediately and criminal/disciplinary actions must be initiated against them," the notice added.

Free Press Journal