Kerala Assembly Election 2021: EC bans traditional poll campaigning due to COVID-19 surge

Today is the last day for campaigning for the Kerala Assembly Election 2021. However, the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases seems to play a spoilsport. The Election Commission has banned the years-long practice of traditional poll campaigning in the wake of the virus spread in the state.

Kerala is going to the polls on April 6. Based on the request of the state Chief Electoral Officer, Teeka Ram Meena, the Election Commission of India has approved the banning of the customary finale marked by immense participation of crowd and celebration on Sunday.

“The proposal for banning the practice of Kottikalasham in the state of Kerala has been approved by the Commission,” the ECI said in a letter. However, there is no mention of the COVID-19 in the letter.

Known as ‘Kottikalasham’ in the local language, the event typically involves party workers engaging in noisy revelry to mark the culmination of a high-voltage campaign. This time it has been prohibited in view of the COVID-19 surge.

As per the tradition, every political party would try to show off their strength by bringing a maximum number of supporters to add colour to the show.

Meanwhile, the Thiruvanathapuram District Collector Navjot Khosa has imposed strict restrictions and vigil in the capital district ahead of assembly polls.

Bike rallies as part of the election campaigning have been completely banned in the district since midnight. Distribution of free food kits or any other gift, amounted to influence voters, also would not be allowed till the polls, official sources here said.

Kerala COVID-19 tally

Kerala recorded 2,508 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

The active caseload is up to 26,407 and the death toll to 4,646.

Kozhikode (385) recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

Followed by Ernakulam (278) and Kannur (272).

51,783 samples were tested in the last 24 hours till Friday.

The positivity rate in the state currently stands at 4.84%.

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