In view of the heatwave condition prevailing in many parts of West Bengal, the Election Commission on Thursday issued an advisory to political parties asking them to avoid public meetings in extreme heat.
“The commission has considered the matter and having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances, require all political parties, contesting candidates and their election agents to avoid holding of public meetings in extreme heat conditions, during the prevailing peak summer months,” the EC said in an advisory.
Various stakeholders like citizen groups had complained to the EC regarding severe hardships being faced by citizens during public meetings organised in the current oppressive heat condition in the afternoon or daytime of the prevailing peak summer days. “A few incidents have also been brought to the notice of the commission, where some persons have died at the election campaign meeting sites during the meetings due to exposure to extreme heat,” the poll panel said.
Several districts of the state have been reeling under heatwave. Temperature in most parts of Gangetic West Bengal remained above 40 degrees Celsius on Thursday, with Bankura recording the day’s highest at 44.5 degrees. The commission also asked political parties to ensure that public meeting venues have adequate facility of shade, drinking water, medical aid to safeguard the participating citizens from the sweltering heat.
The parties may also make adequate arrangement of drinking water, first aid facilities, etc, for the benefit and convenience of the public so that no human life is put to danger under difficult condition, it said. The EC advised all parties, candidates and their agents to keep in view the above suggested arrangement while undertaking campaign.
The Election Commission also directed the state chief secretary and DGP to take strict action in all cases of poll violence.
“All matters pertaining to law and order are being pursued with the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, West Bengal, and the commission has directed to take time-bound follow-up action on FIR lodged in these cases and legal action be taken,” the poll panel said.
The Commission has further directed to take strict action in all cases of post-poll violence. It assured voters that they will not hesitate to respond to violence of any sort, anywhere and any time and take appropriate legal action irrespective of their political affiliation.