EC bans crowded finale of open campaigning in Kerala
(Sourced from PTI)
Election Commission has banned the usually crowded culmination to the weeks-long poll campaigning, a years-long practice, in Kerala reportedly because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. 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 on Sunday ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls.
Known as Kottikalasham, the finale of the open poll campaigning is a jamboree in Kerala in which every political party would show off their strength by bringing the maximum number of supporters to add color to the show. "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.
Though there is no mention of the COVID-19 in the letter, sources close to the Chief Electoral Officer in Thiruvananthapuram have said that the ban was imposed to minimize the virus spread across the state. Meanwhile, Thiruvananthapuram 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. The Assembly elections in Kerala will be held in a single phase on April 6. The term of the Legislative Assembly ends on June 1, 2021.