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Campaigns to be banned if all Covid norms not followed: EC

Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has written to all the political party leaders urging them to strictly follow Covid protocols while holding election campaigns. It has also warned that it would not hesitate to ban rallies if any further breach of protocols is found.

The directives were issued by the ECI on Friday, a day before Bengal goes to its fourth phase of election. Leaders from the ruling Trinamool Congress and others have questioned the timing of the directives. They said that the ECI must have taken stringent action from the beginning of the polls. Some have however criticized the role of the Commission as it took a long time to realize the fact that the infections are going up and the Covid protocols are not followed.

The Commission in its letter mentioned that it found serious laxity in maintaining Covid norms while organising campaigns and warned that in case of any further breach of Covid norms, it will not hesitate to

ban meetings.

"The political parties and candidates concerned should ensure that all Covid related requirements like face masks, sanitizers, etc are fulfilled. non-compliance of instructions during the period of public interface will attract actions as per provisions of Sections 51 to 60 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides invocation of Section 188 of Indian Penal Code," reads the letter.

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