EC defers bye-polls to three Lok Sabha, eight Assembly seats due to pandemic

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The Election Commission on Wednesday deferred the bye-polls to three Lok Sabha and eight Assembly seats in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation in the country.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the poll body said it would not be appropriate to hold the elections till the pandemic situation “significantly improves” and the conditions become “conducive” for the bye-polls.

Listing the constituencies where the bye-polls were scheduled to be held, the Election Commission said that vacancies have been notified in Lok Sabha seats of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

As far as state bye-polls are concerned, the constituencies of Kalka and Ellenabad in Haryana, Vallabhnagar in Rajasthan, Sindgi in Karnataka, Rajabala and Mawryngkneng in Meghalaya, Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh and Badvel in Andhra Pradesh were supposed to vote.

The Election Commission said it will take further decisions on the matter after taking inputs from the states concerned and assessing the pandemic situation from mandated authorities such as the national and state disaster management authorities.

The Election Commission recently faced criticism from various quarters after it held Assembly elections in four states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and the Union Territory of Puducherry, despite a record surge in cases in India.

Last month, Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee held that the Election Commission was “singularly responsible for the second wave of the pandemic” and said it should be booked on charges of murder for allowing rallies to continue in poll-bound states in spite of the surge in coronavirus cases.

The election body moved the Supreme Court last week seeking directions against media reporting of oral observations made in the court. However, the Supreme Court said that such an order cannot be passed and it cannot interfere with oral observations made by High Courts.

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