The debate over the government’s double standards as far as Navratri and elections are concerned is picking up after the state announced that it will not allow for any Navratri Garba celebrations this year.
Although the state has allowed public worship of idols during Navratri subject to certain conditions, many are pointing out to the hypocrisy over banning Garba fearing COVID-19 but allowing election rallies in the state given the bypolls.
What is interesting is that a rightwing party like BJP has chosen not to allow Garba, which is close to the heart of every Gujarati but at the same time has allowed for election events.
Centre revised guidelines for elections
The Centre had initially released guidelines for election rallies which did not allow for more than 100 people to assemble at single place. It later revised the guidelines and allowed for more than 100 people in the rally. It made masks, sanitisers and social distancing mandatory.
Eight seats in Gujarat are scheduled for bypolls. In all, 11 seats across the country will see bypolls while Bihar will see assembly elections.
What is interesting is that despite strict conditions put in place against a gathering of people, recent rallies of Gujarat BJP president CR Patil had shown that social distancing guidelines remained on paper.
No fear of COVID-19 in election rallies but fear of pandemic prevails during Garba?
The government’s double standards for norms during election rallies and Navratri has raised the question if the state thinks Navratri has a higher potential for spreading COVID-19 than election rallies?
Interestingly, the government fears that if people gather for Garba they may spread COVID-19 but if they do the same for election rallies and voting somehow this will not happen.
The government seems to look the other way when COVID-19 guidelines are violated by its leaders but seem to be very keen on preventing such violations when it comes to religious festivities.
It should be noted that not just Garba, the government has said that it will not allow Ravandahan, Shobha yatras and Ramleelas and other such religious celebrations. In fact, the restrictions are applicable not just for Navratri but Diwali and all other festivals in the coming months.
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