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No victory procession on or after May 2: Election Commission amid COVID-19 surge

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Election Commission May 2Election Commission May 2The Election Commission has been facing flak for holding polls amid the imminent COVID-19 resurge. (PTI)

In wake of a record surge in COVID-19 cases, the Election Commission of India today banned all victory processions on or after the day of the counting of votes. The counting of votes for assembly elections in five states – Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry will be held on May 2. “No victory procession after the counting on 2.5.2021 shall be permissible. Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorised representative receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned,” said the EC in its order.

The Election Commission has been facing flak over its handling of the COVID-19 situation and over the decision of conducting polls by allowing political parties to hold public rallies amid a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

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“In view of the surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the Commission has decided to make more stringent provision to be followed during the process of Counting,” said the EC adding that it had issued broad guidelines to conduct elections during COVID-19 on 21st August.

Yesterday, Madras High Court castigated the Election Commission for holding polls at such a grave time. The HC said that the EC is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19 and added that its officials may be booked on murder charges.

Not only the Madras HC, but the Calcutta High Court had also expressed dissatisfaction over the enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Election Commission for the West Bengal assembly election including poll campaigning.

The Election Commission had banned ‘pad yatras’ and roadshows while limiting the number of people attending the public meetings to 500. The EC had asked the political parties to ensure that those attending the rallies wear masks and follow COVID-19 protocols.

The assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry were held on April 6 while Assam voted in three phases and Bengal is voting in an eight-phase election. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

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