EC Issues Notice to Samajwadi Party For Violating COVID Norms During Virtual Rally, Seeks Report in 24 Hours
Referring to Friday's event in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the notice from the EC said after considering the available material and extant instructions in the matter, the poll panel has decided to provide the party an opportunity to explain its stand regarding the "violations".
UP Assembly Election 2022: The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday issued a notice to the Samajwadi Party (SP) for violation of Covid-19 guidelines during a virtual rally on Friday. The notice from the EC comes after hundreds of supporters turned up at the party office in Lucknow for the election rally. Notably, the SP had organised a ‘virtual’ event which was addressed by party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
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Referring to Friday’s event in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the notice from the EC said after considering the available material and extant instructions in the matter, the poll panel has decided to provide the party an opportunity to explain its stand regarding the “violations”.
“Your explanation shall reach the Commission within 24 hours of receipt of this notice, failing which the Commission shall take appropriate decision in the matter without further reference to you,” the notice to the SP general secretary read.
FIR against SP leaders: Soon after the virtual rally, the Lucknow Police on Friday had registered an FIR against Samajwadi Party leaders and workers who attended the rally. Giving details, the Lucknow Commissioner of Police said the FIR had been registered against nearly 2,500 Samajwadi Party leaders under Sections 188, 269, 270 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Video clips showed hundreds of party workers gathered at the SP office and a majority of them not wearing masks.
“Prima facie, there was violation of COVID-19 norms, and investigations are underway. A team of officials of the district administration and police had gone there,” a senior official of the Lucknow district administration said.
Here’s what SP said: In the meantime, the Samajwadi Party said it was a virtual event inside the party office and it didn’t call anyone but people came on their own. The party also said that the workers abide by Covid protocol.
It must be noted that the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. Currently, there is a ban on public meetings and rallies in view of the pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Election Commission banned public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 22 in the five poll-bound states, citing the fresh surge in Covid-19 cases, and issued stringent safety guidelines.
The Commission listed out 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned ‘nukkad sabhas’ (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limited the number of persons allowed for the door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting of votes.