Thiruvananthapuram: Political parties and candidates will have to be more wary of the COVID-19 pandemic than the voters during this local body elections. If one contracts the disease, the quarantine and treatment will stretch to 17 days.
For instance in the Karamana Nedumgadu ward in the Kerala capital, BJP’s sitting councillor Karamana Ajith was diagnosed with COVID four days ago.
Former Deputy Mayor and CPI candidate Happy Kumar has almost completed his quarantine. T.P. Moideenkutty, the LDF-backed independent in the Valancherry municipality of Malappuram, is another COVID-affected contender.
The Congress had to change its candidate in the Kollam district panchayat's Veliyam ward after the first choice Bindu Sreekumar was found to be affected with COVID.
In the Chalakudy municipality, at least two candidates have COVID. One of them is a Congress councillor and he had taken part in a recent council meeting. The second person is a CPI regional leader. Both of them had also started house visits and active campaigning.
There are restrictions on the filing of nominations too. If a candidate has COVID or is under observation, the nomination paper should be submitted through an authorised agent. The Election authorities will depute a special official for the ‘oath-taking’ in case of such sick candidates.
Instructions to candidates
Candidates and others accompanying them have been asked to use quality masks during house visits. They are urged not to enter the houses. Votes can be sought from outside. Shaking of hands and touching the residents should be avoided. Hands should be sanitised after each visit.
The candidates should not insist on personally seeing senior citizens.