The Election Commission (EC), which has been facing severe criticism for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms during the recently concluded Assembly elections, has postponed the by-elections to three Lok Sabha seats and eight seats in state Assemblies.
A statement from the EC on Wednesday, 5 May, said, “The Commission has reviewed the matter today and has decided that due to the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, it would not be appropriate to hold by-elections till the pandemic situation improves and the condition becomes conducive to hold these by-elections.”
There are three vacancies in the Lok Sabha — Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Khandwa (in Madhya Pradesh), Mandi (in Himachal Pradesh), and eight vacancies in the state assemblies — Kalka and Ellenabad in Haryana, Vallabhnagar in Rajasthan, Sindgi in Karnataka, Rajabala and Mawryngkneng (ST) in Meghalaya, Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh and Badvel (SC) in Andhra Pradesh, India Today reported.
You Don't Stop Elections in a Place Like India: S Jaishankar
Amid global criticism, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, while defending leaders who focused on election rallies rather than the COVID emergency, said in an interview, “We are a democratic country, you don't stop elections in a place like India.”
Referring to the Emergency imposed in 1975, Jaishankar added that, that was the only time India stopped elections and “none of us really wants to be associated with that kind of memory”.
Recently, the EC had approached the Supreme Court against remarks by the Madras High Court, which said that the poll body was “singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID” and its officers should probably be “booked on murder charges”.
The poll body had also filed a plea asking the SC to refrain the media from reporting on oral observations of the courts.
However, the apex court on 3 May, called it a ‘far-fetched’ plea and said that the media is a powerful watchdog in a democracy and cannot be stopped from reporting on discussions in higher courts.
EC was also criticised for the massive eight-phase elections in Bengal, which despite requests from the Trinamool Congress to club the last three phases, rolled on as the daily COVID cases across the country climbed to more than 3 lakh people.
Regarding the by-elections, the poll body added that a decision regarding the by-elections will be taken at an appropriate time in future after taking inputs from the states concerned and assessing the pandemic situation.
. Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.EC Defers Bypolls to 3 Lok Sabha and 8 Assembly Seats Due to COVIDVideo From Odisha Falsely Shared as TMC Workers Attacking WB Cops . Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.