After Allahabad HC nudge, will EC postpone UP election? Decision after review next week, says poll body

Published on Dec 24, 2021 02:01 PM IST
His remarks were in response to the Allahabad high court pointing out growing concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is said to be highly transmissible and capable of undergoing a frequent and unusually large number of mutations.
The Allahabad high court judge’s request to the Election Commission came just a day after chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra stressed that the commission is ready to hold elections in Goa and elsewhere despite the looming threat of another wave of the coronavirus disease pandemic. (Arvind Yadav / HT PHOTO)
The Allahabad high court judge’s request to the Election Commission came just a day after chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra stressed that the commission is ready to hold elections in Goa and elsewhere despite the looming threat of another wave of the coronavirus disease pandemic. (Arvind Yadav / HT PHOTO)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A day after the Allahabad high court urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to immediately postpone the upcoming legislative assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh by as much as two months citing the coronavirus pandemic, the poll panel said it will take an “appropriate decision”.

“Next week we will go to Uttar Pradesh, review the situation there, and then take an appropriate decision,” the ANI news agency quoted Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra as saying.

His remarks were in response to the Allahabad high court pointing out growing concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is said to be highly transmissible and capable of undergoing a frequent and unusually large number of mutations.

The high court also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission to immediately ban rallies and public meetings of political parties in the state.

India is set to hold assembly elections in five states, including the most populous province Uttar Pradesh, early next year. The state is considered a political bellwether ahead of general elections in 2024.

As elections draw closer, political parties are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people at rallies and meetings where it is impossible to follow pandemic protocols, the high court observed. If the trend is not checked, the country could witness horrific scenes that played out earlier this year during the second wave, it added.

“If rallies are not stopped, the results will be worse than the second wave,” said high court justice Shekhar Yadav, adding, “Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai (If you live, only then will you have the world).”

Traditionally, the judiciary stays away from directing independent bodies like the poll panel or the executive on the timing of elections. However, the comments came as Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav observed his crowded room and the 400 cases lined up for hearing in a single day, according to observations posted on the court website.

India’s brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic crippled the country’s healthcare system and overwhelmed burial grounds and crematoriums in April and May this year. However, concerns are once again rising now over the highly infectious Omicron strain, which has been reported across as many as 17 states and Union territories across the country.

India's nationwide tally of Omicron cases has climbed to 358, according to a Covid-19 brief issued by the Centre on Friday morning. Maharashtra, with 88 cases of the highly infectious new strain, leads the country-wide count and is closely followed by Delhi (67), Telangana (38), Tamil Nadu (34), and Karnataka (31).

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now