Covid-19 norms go for a toss near vote counting centres

GP polls: Covid-19 norms go for a toss near vote counting centres

People gathered during the counting of votes of Gram Panchayat elections near Maharani’s Women’s Commerce and Management College in Mysuru on Wednesday. DH PHOTO

Amidst growing fear over a new Covid-19 variant spreading in the United Kingdom and other nations, people seemed not bothered- as they neither wore masks nor maintained social distance, during the counting of votes of the Gram Panchayat elections.

The counting was held at all taluk headquarters across the district. Despite warnings from the Health department officials, people had gathered in huge numbers, near the counting centres.

The police personnel, deputed on poll duty, said that they had turned into mute spectators, as a large number of people gathered near the centres. “We were not able to manage the crowd and the people did not bother about safety. We were asking them to maintain social distance, but in vain,” said a policeman.

Shankar, who was near the counting centre, violating Covid-19 norms, said that he forgot to get his mask, as he was exited about the election results. “My cousin has contested the election and I was busy with him in the arrangements. Thus, I forgot the mask,” he said.

A police officer said that the department had taken several measures, to ensure Covid-19 guidelines. “But, we need people’s cooperation to follow the guidelines. The Police department has ordered not to celebrate the victory. We had also barred large gatherings. But, the people are reluctant to follow. We are helpless at this point of time,” the officer said.

The Police department had deputed 850 men near the counting stations across Mysuru district and had pressed into service mobile squads for sensitive areas. After counting, additional men were deputed at sensitive areas, to maintain law and order, said an officer.

However, the police could not prevent the supporters of the candidates, who won the polls, from celebrating the victory.