Virtual rallies, no roadshows a welcome stopover: The Tribune India
Tribune press service
Jalandhar, January 10
Besides political leaders, most of the city’s residents breathe a sigh of relief after the Election Commission announced that it would restrict the conduct of rallies and roadshows until January 15. As two days have passed since the imposition of the model code of conduct, complete silence reigns except for small indoor meetings organized by party leaders.
“Medical fraternity wants January 15 restriction extended”
As a doctor, the whole medical fraternity is satisfied with the decision of the EC not to organize gatherings. The Covid is spreading rapidly. Colds, flu and other forms of infections are also increasingly common. People are not taking the necessary precautions and even the government is not strict with them this time around. Despite so many daily cases, people still circulate without a mask. Ideally, the January 15 ban should be extended, otherwise everyone will suffer. Doctors and healthcare workers will be the most affected. If they were affected, how would people get proper treatment?
Dr Sushma Chawla, gynecologist and social activist
“Good riddance of the traffic chaos”
The EC’s decision not to allow rallies is really appreciable not only from an Omicron propagation point of view but also otherwise. Residents of the city have already seen a lot of chaos due to the rallies held last month. No rally this week has meant no traffic growl. There will also be no unnecessary expenses for fuel. The city will be cleaner thanks to the lack of mess after the rally. Police officers too should feel relieved from this additional duty. Ideally, this form of campaigning should become a regular feature even when there is no Covid. All voters, young and old, are so drawn to social media that leaders don’t have to worry about the lack of organized rallies. They can easily form an opinion, even sitting at home and watching the party leaders’ activities on social media.
Raghav Chauhan, NGO Mission Clean Jalandhar
“No dhol from the Punjabi diaspora too”
We realize that the Punjab Assembly 2022 poll will be different this time around in more than one way. Dhols and roadshows will be missing after EC orders, and therefore unnecessary expenses too. But one more thing is missing: the active participation of NRIs. They are disappointed. They understood that their efforts to bring change to their homeland will not bear fruit. There was a time when foreign supporters of the SAD and Congress would arrive in Punjab a month or two before the elections and host parties with the aim of persuading those close to them to vote for their party. During the 2017 parliamentary elections, the NRIs descended en masse in the Punjab, mainly to solicit the Aam Aadmi party. This trend will not be seen this time. I urge the people of Punjab not to fight against each other for the sake of their political leaders, but to vote for the right and the right candidate, regardless of the political party.
Satnam Singh Chahal, Executive Director, North American Punjabi Association
“The EC must allow small meetings”
Only the door-to-door campaign style and posting a few posts on social media cannot create a political atmosphere. The EC must allow us small meetings limiting the size of the rally, otherwise the whole campaign will be wiped out. We hope that some restrictions will be lifted after January 15th. The EC must authorize small gatherings with the Covid protocol in place. Applicants will ensure that everyone comes with masks and that there is proper spacing between chairs. Without this kind of smaller-scale election campaign, candidates will feel truly powerless to reach more people and come face to face with them.
Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson
“Gatherings or no gatherings – the industry only wants peace”
Whether there are rallies or not, it doesn’t matter to local industry. All they want is peace in the Punjab. Any social and political unrest or disruption affects our business and orders from other states and overseas. We don’t want dharnas, just good governance. The only direct advantage we have if there are no rallies is that our workers do not ask for permissions to attend political functions. No real merchant or industrialist attends a rally. We keep an eye out for promises and activities of political leaders through news and social media and follow whoever seems to be the most realistic and trustworthy.
Narinder S Sagoo, Industrial