1 in 3 surveyed opposed to state elections being held in 5 states amidst 3rd COVID wave
- ● Believe rallies and elections during the 3rd wave could increase COVID risk significantly
- ● Want ECI to consider postponing the scheduled elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa
- ● Though ECI has said no rallies till Jan 15th, 4 in 10 respondents in favour of a full ban on them if elections are to be conducted
January 10, 2022, New Delhi: The Omicron variant is driving a massive surge in COVID cases in India. In the last three weeks, the daily case load has grown by over 30 times in the last 3 weeks (from 5300 on Dec 20th to over 160,000 on Jan 8th). Amidst the surge, the election commission on Saturday announced the schedule for elections in the 5 states of Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur & Uttar Pradesh with elections to be held in February 10th – March 10th. While the CEC in the briefing on conducting elections at this time said that “There should be faith and belief that we can pass through this pandemic also through safety measures and Covid-appropriate behavior”. Though the CEC did announce that elections will be conducted with COVID protocols and put a ban on all rallies till Jan 15th in light of the prevailing COVID situation, many citizens still remember how during the 2nd COVID wave in March-April 2021, elections in several states led to rallies, gatherings and broken protocols.
Post the release of election schedule by the Election Commission, many citizens shared their views and concerns on LocalCircles and when the platform conducted a survey on what should be done, 41% respondents said that a ban should be put on all political rallies while 31% of citizens are in favour of postponing these state elections altogether. 24% respondents in the survey said that COVID compliance be imposed on all political rallies, but they must continue while 4% respondents said that no action is needed as risk of COVID spread due to elections is low. The survey received 11,111 responses from citizens located in 309 districts of India including 4172 responses from districts in these 5 states.
After ECI announces election dates in 5 states for February-March, people express 3rd wave concerns; 41% want ban on election rallies while 31% simply want postponement of these state elections
When citizens were asked a similar question regarding these state elections in December 2021, only 15% of citizens wanted that a “Ban be put on all political rallies”, which has now increased to 41%. Similarly, only 13% of citizens previously said that election should be postponed and this has increased to 31% post the announcement. This means that public sentiment on 5 state elections has changed in the last 30 days, with highest numbers now opposed to rallies and 1 in 3 to even holding the elections.
According to Sachin Taparia, Founder of LocalCircles, “Unless the Election Commission can ensure there are absolutely no rallies till the polling date and there is strict adherence to COVID protocols during the polling process, it will be very difficult to control the spread of COVID given the very high transmissibility of the Omicron strain”, “Since online voting is not an option, if COVID cases are high, there is a high likelihood that turn out rates will be lower in urban areas”, continued Taparia.
The survey received over 11,000 responses from citizens located in 309 districts of India including 4172 responses from districts in these 5 states. 68% respondents were men while 32% respondents were women. 41% respondents were from tier 1, 34% from tier 2 and 25% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.