Twitter users are today engaged in a bitter battle over the election rallies of Amit Shah, as the rivals of the BJP express concern over a potential contagion in the midst of the wave of a double mutant coronavirus while supporters of the party ask why this concern was altogether absent when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed large crowds or farmers from Punjab and Haryana assembled in large numbers.
“So THIS rally is covid proof? Because it is by @MamataOfficial? The virus attends only @AmitShah and @narendramodi’s rallies?” Shefali Vaidya, owner of a popular Twitter handle, asked, posting images of the chief minister’s public addresses published by news agency ANI.
Another Twitter user attributed the images of Amit Shah to Trinamool Congress’s election manager Prashant Kishor.
Earlier, the Indian National Congress had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of spreading Covid-19 through their election campaigns.
About an hour ago, Amit Shah was addressing a crowd in Harirampur of West Bengal.
Senior journalist and former editorial head of Open Magazine and Swarajya Sandipan Deb expressed on Facebook his dismay at the gathering of farmers, which can rapidly spread the dreaded virus.
A Twitter user gave several examples where no opposition party or media had accused the assemblies of being spreaders of the pandemic.
There were users who expressed shock particularly on learning that thousands of farmers are relaunching their agitation that has failed to catch the popular imagination, let alone succeed in making the government reverse the agriculture reforms laws.
In the meantime, UPSC aspirants want the body to go ahead with its examination schedule, the chances of that spreading the pandemic be damned. The following Twitter user tagged the prime minister, the union home minister and as many other politicians and institutions in power as he could.
Supporters of the BJP say, however, that Amit Shah is not physically present at these rallies. He is addressing the people virtually.
The claim turned out to be true. BJP president JP Nadda had on 20 April held a review meeting with senior party leaders to discuss the campaigning strategy for the last three phases of West Bengal assembly election amid a surge in number of Covid-19 cases in the poll-bound state.
Those present in the meeting were BJP joint general secretary Shiv Prakash, BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, Bengal co-incharge Amit Malviya and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, among others.
Top sources in the BJP said that the a part of the campaigning would be done through digital mediums. In Prime Minister Modi’s rallies which are scheduled to be held on 23 April in Bengal, more than 500 people are not allowed. However, arrangements will be made to make the prime minister’s speech available for others too in all districts through digital mode.
Amit Shah and JP Nadda are visiting Bengal to campaign for the last phase of polling with all Covid-19 protocols in place. According to party sources, Nadda will be in the state on 25-26 April.