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Poll rallies led to Covid spread, Sena alleges; BJP blames Maharashtra govt for its failure

Citing the Madras high court’s (HC) observations that Election Commission (EC) is responsible for the Covid-19 surge, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered people in poll-bound states for campaigning, who got infected and spread it elsewhere in the country
By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON APR 28, 2021 12:27 AM IST

Citing the Madras high court’s (HC) observations that Election Commission (EC) is responsible for the Covid-19 surge, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered people in poll-bound states for campaigning, who got infected and spread it elsewhere in the country. The Sena leader added that while Madras HC said EC should face murder charges, the Centre is planning to reward the former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) by appointing him a governor. Raut further said that the Centre should take the Madras HC’s remarks seriously.

The Madras HC on Monday came down heavily on the EC for “not stopping political parties” from violating Covid-19 protocols during their campaign rallies for Assembly polls in four states and a Union territory over the last month. It further said that murder charges should probably be put on the panel for being “the only institution responsible for the situation that we are in today”.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Raut said, “A few senior BJP leaders in Delhi were preaching to us that the Covid has nothing to do with the elections. They were saying that Covid cases were rising in states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh where there were no elections. This was not correct. The people from across the country were mobilised in West Bengal for campaigning and returned to their states which led to a surge in Covid cases,” he added.

Countering the allegation, Maharashtra BJP chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said, “Maharashtra government has failed on all counts including tackling the Covid outbreak in the state. The Shiv Sena and other two parties daily come up with different ideas to blame the Centre for their failure.”

Raut added that even though the court has blamed the EC, the Centre is planning to give former CEC Sunil Arora, who is tipped to be the next governor of Goa, a “return gift”. He said, “The Madras HC said that the EC should be held responsible [for spreading the virus]. PM Narendra Modi, who has now been taking the Covid seriously, will certainly take the Madras HC’s remarks seriously. But I have heard in the last few days that the government is planning to reward the retired election commissioner, under whose tenure the elections were held, by appointing him as a governor. However, we trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji.”

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