Election Commission to meet Union Health Secretary ahead of UP poll, rising Omicron concern

The poll body’s decision comes days after the Allahabad High Court requested the EC to defer the UP Election 2022.

A team of the EC led by Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra will visit Uttar Pradesh between December 28-30.

The Election Commission of India will meet Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on December 27 to discuss holding polls in five states including Uttar Pradesh amid the rising concerns related to the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19. The assembly elections are likely to be held in February-March. A team of the EC led by Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra will visit Uttar Pradesh between December 28-30.

The poll body’s decision comes days after the Allahabad High Court requested the EC to defer the UP Election 2022 by two or three months until the situation becomes feasible for holding the polls. The HC expressed concerns over the rising number of Omicron cases and said that the political rallies for the UP panchayat election and West Bengal assembly polls had led to a spike in the COVID-19 cases. The court also urged the EC to stop political rallies and direct the political parties to do campaigning using newspapers and TV channels. The HC also warned that if no action is taken, the situation can be worse than what was seen during the second wave of the pandemic. The HC, while praising PM Narendra Modi for the vaccination drive, had also requested him to stop political rallies.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, who was in Dehradun yesterday to take stock of the poll preparedness, said that an appropriate decision as required by the situation will be taken after the team will review the on-ground situation.

The Health Secretary had yesterday said that the Centre has issued detailed guidelines to district and state administration on how to monitor the rising cases and on what parameters actions are to be taken.

Uttar Pradesh has 403 assembly seats and the polls will be held in multiple phases and if political rallies are allowed amid increasing Omicron cases, it can expose more people to the infection.

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