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UP polls: Parties struggle to maintain Covid protocol at their offices

Lucknow, Jan 11 (PTI) Though the Election Commission has banned poll rallies till January 15, the surge in Covid cases in Uttar Pradesh has failed to dampen the spirits of ticket-seekers and their supporters at the offices of major political parties.

The roads leading to the Samajwadi Party office at Vikramaditya Marg were nearly choked on Tuesday with SUVs of leaders and their supporters parked haphazardly on both sides.

The road outside Janeshwar Mishra Trust, which is linked to the SP office and used by party president Akhilesh Yadav to meet leaders, was similarly jammed.

A local shopkeeper said it is the same scene at the SP office every day.

Though there are instructions to party workers to use masks and practise social distancing, few in the crowd seemed to be taking precautions.

“There is an arrangement for hand sanitiser and instructions to maintain protocol. But when the gate is opened for workers, it is difficult to maintain it. Every second day there is someone joining the party and the leaders’ supporters enter the office in large numbers,” an SP leader said.

The scene was no better at the Bharatiya Janata Party office here, though office-bearers claim the Covid protocol is being strictly followed.

“The visitors who are coming to the office are being thermally screened at the entrance and their details taken. They are sanitised and allowed to enter the office premises only if they are wearing a mask. Inside the office, social distancing is also observed,” spokesperson Abhay Singh said.

BJP’s Uttar Pradesh in-charge Radha Mohan Singh has tested positive for coronavirus — after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and party president J P Nadda, who had been touring the state extensively, too were found infected.

Not much crowd was visible at the Congress office on Tuesday.

UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said the Covid protocol is being observed and only people wearing masks are being allowed to enter.

Rashtriya Lok Dal spokesperson Rohit Agarwal also claimed that the Covid protocol is being strictly followed at the party office in Lucknow and party leaders will follow Election Commission guidelines while campaigning.

On Monday, the state reported 8,334 new Covid cases, including four deaths. Nearly 23,000 people have died due to Covid in the state since the pandemic began.

The seven-phase polling for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh begins on February 10. PTI ABN NAV SNS ASH ASH

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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