Mumbai: As Omicron is spiking up nationwide, poll strategist Prashant Kishor recommended what he called the "only safe way" to hold the five state elections due in February-March. He states that Election Commission must insist on two vaccine doses, for at least 80% people in poll bound states.
The EC who is yet to announce the poll dates, was briefed by the Centre about the covid situation in the nation, and vaccinations in the states- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. It reportedly asked for stronger vaccination coverage in the states.
"EC MUST insist on two vaccine doses for at least 80% people in poll-bound states. This is the only SAFE way to hold elections in the midst of a raging pandemic. Rest everything is HOGWASH. The notion of guidelines for Covid appropriate behaviour, which no one follows, is FARCICAL," Prashant Kishor tweeted.
The EC reviewed the covid situation after the weeks after the Allhabad High Court suggested to delay elections.
The rallies have been a super-spreader of covid. Amid this major political parties have been calling down their campaigns, and rallies are being canceled.
But until now the Election Commission has not banned a single rally, this year. The government reportedly told the poll body that there was no reason to panic, that Omicron infections were relatively mild.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned against underestimating Omicron as mild even though it appears to be less severe compared to Delta, especially among the vaccinated. "Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalising people and it is killing people," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday.
India today reported 1,17,100 new cases of COVID-19, largely driven by the Omicron variant now present in 27 states