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Omicron threat | Ban rallies, put off U.P. polls, Allahabad High Court urges PM, Election Commission

A BJP-Nishad Party joint rally at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow on December 17, 2021.

A BJP-Nishad Party joint rally at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow on December 17, 2021.

The Allahabad High Court has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to immediately ban rallies and public meetings of political parties, and consider postponing the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election owing to rising cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The court requested the ECI to possibly postpone the U.P. election scheduled to be held in February by one or two months. Citing news reports of increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, the HC said the third wave “is at our doorstep”.

 

Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav, while hearing a bail petition on December 23, appealed to the ECI to bring an immediate end to the large rallies and public meetings being organised by political parties for the election. Justice Yadav appealed to the ECI to direct the parties to not campaign through rallies and public meetings but through newspapers and “ doordarshan ” or the television medium.

“If there is life, election rallies and meetings can be held in future as well and Article 21 of the Constitution provides us the Right to Life,” said Justice Yadav in his order in Hindi.

The HC judge, while praising the PM’s vaccination drive, requested him, taking into consideration the “frightening situation”, to take tough steps and consider deferring or stopping the rallies, meetings and election. “ Jaan hain toh jahan hain (if there is life, there is hope),” remarked the judge.

The court expressed concern over lakhs of people gathering at public meetings and rallies held by political parties and said it was not possible to follow any COVID-19 protocol at these events.

If not stopped on time, the result would be be even more frightening than the second wave, the court said, stating that many people had died of the infection during the U.P. gram panchayat polls and the West Bengal election.


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Printable version | May 29, 2022 8:06:11 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/omicron-threat-ban-rallies-put-off-up-polls-allahabad-high-court-urges-pm-election-commission/article38023779.ece