No precautions or masks as campaign for Bihar elections gathers momentum

There is little regard for pandemic-related protocols, as villagers can be seen trying to meet candidates during their visits without wearing masks or following social distancing. There is a feeling in the countryside that the coronavirus is a cit...

BCCL
Most candidates said they were avoiding the traditional welcome through garlands, shaking of hands and were carrying sanitisers in their vehicles.
Dumraon (Buxar): Concerns over Covid-19 seem to have taken a back seat in the rural areas of Bihar where campaigning for the assembly election is in full swing.

There is little regard for pandemic-related protocols, as villagers can be seen trying to meet candidates during their visits without wearing masks or following social distancing. There is a feeling in the countryside that the coronavirus is a city phenomenon.

Candidates and party leaders ET spoke to said they were trying to take precautions and educating the voters about the protocols, but agreed also that this was a tough challenge.


Most candidates said they were avoiding the traditional welcome through garlands, shaking of hands and were carrying sanitisers in their vehicles.

“I have personally stopped wearing garlands during my visit to different parts of the constituency. While interacting with villagers, I wear a mask and use sanitiser frequently,” said Dadan Yadav alias Pehalwan, the sitting MLA of Dumraon as who is contesting this time as an independent candidate after the Janata Dal(U) denied him a ticket.

Rajeshwar Raj, who is BJP’s nominee from Karakat in Rohtas, said it was indeed a difficult task to convince voters for maintaining physical distance during campaigning in the rural parts. “I allow only four persons to accompany me in my vehicle. I wear a mask and use sanitiser frequently,” Raj told ET. He has also stopped wearing garlands offered to him during campaigning.
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“But, we also care for the sentiments of our supporters,” he said, while also adding that they try to make the people aware about the Election commission of India’s guidelines for elections during the pandemic.

The CPIML tries to ensure that the people attending its functions follow the protocols, said Santosh Sahar, its central committee member. “If our supporters come to our election offices, we first offer them masks and make them aware about the need for wearing masks during their movement in any area for mobilisation of votes in favour of party candidates,” Santosh told ET.

BJP’s Buxar district unit president Madhvi Kuer admitted that it was not an easy task for party leaders to convince villagers for maintaining social distance during their movement in rural parts.
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