Indian Home Minister Under Fire for 'Spitting' on Pamphlets Before Distributing Them Among Voters
© Photo : Salman Anees Soz/twitter
Five Indian states: Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, will go to the polls starting from 10 February. Voting will be held in several phases and last until 7 March. The results will be declared on 10 March. India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is currently in power in all these states but Punjab.
India's Home Minister and prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Amit Shah is facing social media users' wrath after a video showed him distributing pamphlets to canvass votes after licking his finger to separate the stacked pages with saliva before handing them out to the public.
The video was shot during Shah's campaign in Greater Noida, a part of Uttar Pradesh state's Gautam Buddha Nagar District on Thursday.
The three state legislature constituencies in Greater Noida are scheduled to go to the polls in the first phase of the seven-round election.
Overall, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous Indian state, will elect 403 representatives to its legislature during the upcoming polls.
24 December 2021, 06:45 GMT
Since the video in question went viral, many social media users have questioned the Election Commission of India (ECI) over Shah’s video clip, arguing that applying saliva to the pamphlets could pose a risk of spreading the virus.
Opposition politician Salman Soz has jibed that the video is actually about Shah "spitting" on the Election Commission of India, an apparent reference to the alleged violation of COVID related guidelines that candidates are required to adhere while campaigning for votes ahead of the state elections this month.
The federal election organisation has often faced criticism from the opposition Congress party and other organisations for not enforcing election-related guidelines properly when it comes to the political campaigns of the BJP. The ECI has denied claims that it favours the BJP.
Here’s the Home Minister of India spitting at @ECISVEEP. pic.twitter.com/NaB5eONpmH— Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) January 27, 2022
During Covid surge, India’s home minister in a large crowd handing out campaign pamphlets applying saliva on them - If a Muslim had done it, Indian Press would have called, Thuk Jihad! pic.twitter.com/dtUnHqvZ5r— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) January 27, 2022
Since people weren't ready to get vaccinated, visionary HM Shri Amit Shah ji just distributing vaccinated prasad to the masses. Role model 🙏 https://t.co/qT1SRQV4a4— Rushil Agrawal (@TackyTechie) January 27, 2022
अमित शाह ग्रेटर नोएडा में थूक लगाकर पर्चे बांट गए। अब भला क्या कहें...#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/XFevgoTUee— Pankaj Parashar (@PANKAJPARASHAR_) January 27, 2022
In view of the COVID pandemic, the Election Commission of India has urged all the political parties involved in the electioneering process to ensure that COVID-related guidelines are followed in order to minimise harm to the public.
As per the ECI guidelines currently in place, election meetings organised by political parties must not be larger than 500 people.
The COVID-related guidelines also mandate that there are no more than 10 people while political parties canvass for votes, knocking on the doors of the constituents.
Many Indian states have enforced night and weekend curfews as well as limited the number of people who may visit entertainment venues such as theatres and restaurants to check the spread of COVID-19.
Authorities have ordered schools and colleges to stay shuttered as well, as the emergence of Omnicron has led to a surge in infections in the South Asian nation.
Violation of the public safety guidelines could result in candidates being barred from campaigning for the votes. The rules are in place till 31 January, after which they are scheduled to be reviewed.