DMK cadre came under severe scrutiny on Sunday for violating COVID-19 protocol. Visuals of at least 50 party members and supporters bursting crackers and celebrating without masks and physical distancing went viral on social media. The cadre, both men and women, were expressing their jubilation over the DMK's initial lead in the Assembly elections at the DMK headquarters in Chennai.
However, people were quick to point out that this was in violation of COVID-19 protocols, especially on a Sunday, when maximum restrictions are supposed to be in place in the state. The Election Commission, which recently received severe criticism from the Madras High Court for being lax about ensuring COVID-19 protocol during campaigns and electioneering.
But with the cases now rising constantly, the Election Commission reportedly took āserious noteā of such issues in all five election states. It has directed the Chief Secretaries to file first information reports (FIRs) in each such case, suspend the concerned police officials and report the action taken to the commission immediately.
Even after repeated warnings from MHC and orders against any celebrations in the voting day, 100's DMK cadres gather at party office violating the health department guidelines. Most of them are without masks and social distancing give for a toss. #WearAMask #covid19 pic.twitter.com/Ckc0dZpuW9ā Mugilan Chandrakumar (@Mugilan__C) May 2, 2021
Breaking: Teynampet police station inspector suspended for failing to enforce Covid norms at DMK party office.ā Shilpa (@Shilpa1308) May 2, 2021
Party workers had gathered at DMK HQ for celebrations.
ECI has directed strict compliance of Covid guidelines.#TamilNaduAssemblyPolls pic.twitter.com/aoZqxpwtg7
To that effect, the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary suspended a police inspector from the Teynampet police station for not stopping the celebrations at Anna Arivalayam, the DMKās office. Following this, party chief MK Stalin too warned cadre against holding any celebrations.
As of 3.30 pm on Sunday, the DMK was leading in 152 seats while the AIADMK was leading in 81 seats. MNM, meanwhile, looked to be securing just one seat while AMMK and NTK were yet to top the table in even a single seat.
Several instances of non-compliance of COVID-19 protocol were reported from multiple districts on counting day. Centres where counting was underway were crowded right from 8 am, with no physical distancing measures enforced and several party workers gathering without or with improperly worn masks.
While government officials reportedly attempted to enforce rules in some booths, visuals from the counting centres show that there were indeed several violations. This comes just a day after the state reported close to 20,000 cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours.