The Election Commission of India (EC) on Tuesday deferred the Rajya Sabha polls that were scheduled to be held on March 26 in view of coronavirus pandemic and lockdown in 32 states.
As per the reports received from the concerned returning officers, the biennial elections for 18 seats from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan were to be conducted on March 26 and the date before which election was to be completed as earlier announced by the commission was March 30. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan have issued orders of lockdown to contain the transmission of COVID-19. After reviewing the matter, the EC said that the prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all concerned to a possible health hazard.
“The poll process in the above said elections would necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and members of respective legislative assemblies on the poll day, which may not be suitable in related advisories in the country,” it said. Under Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the poll body has deferred the elections and extended its period.
Election Commission of India defers Rajya Sabha Poll in view of COVID-19; fresh date to be announced later.
— Election Commission of India #SVEEP (@ECISVEEP) March 24, 2020
The list of contesting candidates, already published for the said elections by the respective returning officers will remain valid for the purposes of remaining activities, as prescribed under the said notification, the EC said.
A fresh date of poll and counting for the said biennial elections will be announced in due course after reviewing the prevailing situation.