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HC Urges EC, PM Modi to Push UP Polls Amid COVID, CEC Chandra Says Will Review

"If rallies are not stopped, results will be worse than the second wave," the Allahabad HC bench said.

Updated
India
2 min read
HC Urges EC, PM Modi to Push UP Polls Amid COVID, CEC Chandra Says Will Review
i

Amid concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 23 December, urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to postpone the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections by one-two months.

The HC also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the poll body to prohibit rallies and public political gatherings in the state.

When asked about the court's appeal, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Friday said that an appropriate decision will be taken on the matter after he visits the poll-bound state next week for a review.

"I will be visiting UP next week. An appropriate decision as required by the situation will be taken after we review it," CEC Chandra was quoted as saying by PTI in Dehradun, where was reviewing the preparations for the upcoming Uttarakhand Assembly elections.

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'If Rallies Not Stopped, Results Will Be Worse Than 2nd Wave': Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court Justice Shekhar Yadav on Thursday said that if the pre-election campaigning was not halted, it could lead to a public health disaster.

"If rallies are not stopped, results will be worse than the second wave."
High Court, as per ANI

The court's directions invoked Article 21 of the Constitution – which guarantees the right to life through procedure established by law – and stated, "jaan hai toh jahaan hai (if there is life, there is the world)."

Further, citing the Gram Panchayat elections and the West Bengal Assembly elections, which had contributed to COVID-19 deaths during the horrifying second wave, the HC requested EC to encourage electoral campaigning through TV and print media.

The HC's observations were made while hearing a bail petition in an unrelated matter.

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Early Signs of COVID Surge, 236 Omicron Cases Recorded

According to the Union Health Ministry data, India has detected 236 cases of Omicron variant so far. Earlier in the week, the health ministry had penned a letter to the states, noting that the newly emerged variant was three times more contagious than the previously dominant Delta variant.

Underlining that there are early signs of another COVID-19 surge, the ministry directed the states to undertake certain measures to contain the spread.

The letter read, “At the district level there should be a constant review of emerging data regarding the population affected by COVID-19, geographical spread, hospital infrastructure and its utilization, manpower, notifying containment zones, enforcement of perimeter of containment zones etc."

(With inputs from ANI and Hindustan Times.)

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