GUWAHATI: The Opposition Congress in Mizoram has linked the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the state to the recent local body elections which the ruling Mizo National Front swept.
The Congress alleged the Centre’s guidelines on social distancing were not maintained during the conduct of elections.
Mizoram, which has otherwise managed the pandemic very well, had recorded 141 cases on Thursday which prompted the state government to enforce a week-long lockdown. The Congress claimed over half of the new cases were related to the local council and village council elections.
“Mizoram recorded 141 cases yesterday and this is by far the highest single day spike in the state. More than 70 of the cases are related to the recent elections. There were very few polling booths. As such, social distancing couldn’t be maintained,” Congress spokesman Lal Lianchhunga told The New Indian Express.
He said a large number of cases were recorded from 26 localities of the state capital Aizawl on Thursday. He lamented that the Zoramthanga government as well as the Mizoram State Election Commission (MSEC) had not paid heed to the Congress’s requests for deferment of the polls.
“On August 10, we had requested the state government to postpone the elections. No proper reply was received. Then on August 19, state Congress chief and former Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had requested the MSEC in writing to postpone the polls but to no avail. The elections were held and now, new cases are being detected,” Lianchhunga said.
The state government said it would be too early to link the new cases to the elections.
“Contact tracing is going on. So, it will be premature to link the cases to the elections,” Health Minister Dr R Lalthangliana said.
Mizoram is perhaps the only state in the country that has not recorded a single COVID-19 fatality. It has so far recorded 1,353 cases. According to a count in 2014, it has a population of 11.2 lakh.
“We have managed the pandemic very efficiently by forming several task forces at district and village levels and involving NGOs and villages. The opposition parties are also extending their cooperation,” Lalthangliana said.