Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra today said that the Election Commission will take a call on postponing the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and banning all political rallies only after a review of the current situation. Chandra was responding to a question related to yesterday’s observation by the Allahabad High Court that called upon the EC to stop all political rallies and defer UP assembly polls by two-three months in wake of the rising Omicron cases in India.
“Next week we’ll go to Uttar Pradesh and review the situation there and then take an appropriate decision,” said CEC Chandra while addressing media in Uttarakhand. A team of the Election Commission headed by CEC Chandra is currently in Uttarakhand to take stock of the poll preparations and is scheduled to visit Uttar Pradesh next.
Chandra also informed that given the threat of the COVID-19, the voters per polling booth will be reduced this time. “Earlier, there used to be 1500 voters per polling booth but because of the situation due to COVID-19, it has been reduced to 1200 this time. A total of 623 new polling booths will be set up across the state taking the total number total polling booths to 11,647,” said CEC Chandra.
A single-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, while allowing a bail plea of a petitioner, said that the cases of the COVID-19 including the Omicron variant are rising in the country and if the political gatherings are allowed to take place, the situation could be worse than the second wave that happened earlier this year in April-May.
The court also noted urged the EC to direct political parties to campaign using the newspaper and TV channels. While appreciating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, it also requested him to stop all political rallies.