Recently, West Bengal reported 147 Covid deaths in the last few weeks, which is the highest, with 19,117 new coronavirus cases, which took the overall tally to 11,33,430. With an 87.40 per cent recovery rate among coronavirus patients.
According to health experts, this tremendous wave of COVID-19 infection happened due to the reckless election mass rallies and political, social gatherings. The high rate of infection shot up from 1% to around 30% during that period which means every third person tested positive for coronavirus in West Bengal.
The rapid spread of the virus has led many to ask; Are those election rallies more important than lives? The politicians' main targets are the illiterates and the ignorant ones. Yet, is exploiting them for your votes more crucial than their lives?
Is this the justice we get? Was it necessary? Why didn’t the law enforcement agents follow up on the rules of strict lockdowns when controlling the election rallies?
We, the citizens, have been caged up for almost two years. Yet, it is disheartening to see that the virus keeps getting heavier on us despite all odds. Politicians and public servants have failed to serve the most basic public health safety code and care not only in West Bengal but Karnataka and Kerala as well. The various political parties are not to be blamed alone. The watchdogs; Indian media were blinded and preoccupied with spreading their biased propaganda and debates everywhere.
“We need to ramp up testing. Cases have shot up alarmingly, but we have not been able to ramp up the testing proportionately. When cases had dropped, we did little to augment the infrastructure knowing well that the second wave would come,” said the former head of the School of Tropical Medicine, Pratip Kumar Kundu.
Manas Gupta, general secretary of Association of Health Service Doctors in West Bengal, said, “ All safety protocols had taken a back seat at the election campaigns resulting in a faster spread of the virus in the state. The ECI should have wrapped up the poll process at the earliest. The lengthier the election process, the higher the toll. We need all hands on deck to fight the crisis”.
The dissatisfaction over measures taken during the election poll campaign regarding COVID-19 safety norms was expressed by the Calcutta High Court too. Many authorities are displeased by it. The ordinary people in Bengal suffered and regretted it the most. The people expected to give them hope are the same people leading them to hell. No matter who won or lost the elections, it was a failure to humanity and in the history of politics. The government, politicians, and some ignorant people with ego failed the people too.
There would have been a different approach or methodology to hold those election rallies keeping in mind the measures and safety for COVID-19. One of them is digitalizing and using the virtual election rally method. Now the question will arise, how will you reach the remote areas and villages for this? The solution is in the problem itself. If this method is to work, politicians would have to learn to use ICT and ensure technology gets to the rural parts of the states.
This approach would increase the scope for expanding technological facilities in remote village areas. If they had used 100% of the virtual rally and political appeal strategy via social media in urban areas of Bengal, they would have boosted up the places where technology is already present. With little working on the remote and village areas. And keep the offline mode available with safety measures in most remote areas where it is next to impossible to reach there.
The use of technology can be used in future election rallies if lockdown continues. The government should allow expansions of such virtual election ideas through ICT along with giving economic support. Many people have smartphones and internet connections today. It would be easy for them to connect and vote without risking their lives.
After all, Health is wealth.
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