COVID Surge: EC Defers Polls In 2 WB, 1 Odisha Seat Indefinitely
The voting had been scheduled to take place on 16 May after three candidates passed away due to COVID-19.
Voting in two constituencies of West Bengal and one constituency in Odisha have been deferred indefinitely owing to the COVID-19 surge in the states, the Election Commission announced in a press note on Monday, 3 May.
Earlier, as per a notification by the polling body, the voting in these constituencies had been scheduled to take place on 16 May, after the demise of the contesting candidates due to COVID-19.
From Jangipur constituency, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s candidate Pradip Nandy and Samserganj’s Congress’s Rezaul Haque passed away due to COVID complications in April. In Odisha’s Pipili assembly constituency, Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj had also passed away from the infection, reported NDTV.
The statement on Monday read, "The Commission, after taking all material facts and inputs of CEO West Bengal and CEO Odisha in consideration and taking note of lockdown under Disaster Management Act, 2005, as issued by NDMA/SDMA, has decided to defer the scheduled poll and extend the period of elections in 110-Pipli AC of Odisha and 58-Jangipur and 56-Samserganj assembly constituencies of West Bengal.”
The polling body added that fresh notifications would be issued after an assessment of the COVID-19 situation in the state.
It further said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in these Assembly Constituencies has been lifted with immediate effect and would be in operation from the next date of notification.
Public Health Measures Flouted Amid Polling in WB
As the nation combats a raging second wave of infections, the state of West Bengal has been recording over 15,000 daily cases for over 2 days. On Sunday, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress scored a landslide victory with 213 seats, and the BJP won 77 seats, while the Left-Congress coalition failed to make their mark.
On the same day, the state also recorded its highest daily tally yet with a spike of 17,515 new COVID-19 cases.
Prime Minister Modi, who had participated in several campaign rallies with Union minister Amit Shah, as well as top TMC politicians were widely criticised for organising mammoth public gatherings amid a pandemic which has left the country’s healthcare infrastructure paralysed.
Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee had also chided the EC for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms were being followed during rallies, remarking that the polling bbody is “singularly responsible” for the second wave across the country.
The Election Commission later imposed a ban on victory processions over election results across states. However, reports of public celebrations continued on Monday, as TMC supporters gathered in front of the BJP office in Kolkata, expressing their delight.
Meanwhile, a day after the last phase of polling, the Bengal government imposed a partial lockdown across the state.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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