'File FIRs against those gathered to celebrate party leads in elections': EC
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken serious note of reports of people ignoring coronavirus disease (Covid-19) guidelines and gathering at various places to celebrate the anticipated victories of their respective parties. Even as the final results will be announced only after Sunday evening, supporters of various political parties have congregated for celebrations based on early trends.
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The ECI has also directed the chief secretaries of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry to file first information reports (FIRs) in each such case. Further, the poll panel has said the station house officers (SHO) of the concerned police stations should be suspended in view of their failure to ensure people followed the commission's earlier order.
Responding to the order, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader TKS Elangovan said the 'jubilant' cadres should celebrate at their homes. "The cadres are simply jubilant. Our leader's advice to the cadres is that let them celebrate from their homes as Election Commission is taking serious note of any violation. We are a responsible political party," he said.
Days ahead of the counting of votes, the ECI had released a three-layer plan to ensure there is no spread of Covid-19. It set up more counting halls, banned public gatherings outside centres and said entry to candidates or polling agents will be allowed only if they were fully vaccinated or had a Covid-negative report.
“Based on broad guidelines, a detailed Covid-19 related comprehensive plan for counting arrangements will be prepared at the state level, taking local conditions into account,” EC said in a statement.
The poll panel's order came two days after the Madras high court blamed the ECI for the surge in Covid-19 infections. The HC also sought a detailed plan by Friday to ensure counting doesn’t lead to a spike.