EC defers Rajya Sabha polls as Covid-19 positive cases spike in country
The Election Commission of India decided on Tuesday to
postpone the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for March 26 in the wake of the
coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
A countrywide lockdown, imposed to stop the spread of the
highly contagious virus, has prompted the decision of the commission that was
to hold elections to 18 Upper House seats across seven states, according to
officials with direct knowledge of the matter.
“We have decided to defer the polls as the situation is not
conducive for them,” a senior Election Commission official, who did not want to
be named, told Hindustan Times.
“The commission has reviewed the matter in detail. The
prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need
for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all
concerned to possible health hazard,” a press release by the poll watchdog
“The poll process in the above said elections would
necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political
parties, support officials and members of respective Legislative Assemblies on
the poll day, which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen
situation and related advisories in the country.”
The elections would have required MLAs to cast their votes
in an open ballot and displaying their choice to the authorised agent of their
party in the presence of the presiding officer from the commission.