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Rajya Sabha elections deferred

The Election Commission of India office in New Delhi. File

The Election Commission of India office in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Situation will be reviewed after March 31, says a senior official

Elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats that were scheduled to take place on March 26 have been deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said on Tuesday.

On February 25, the ECI announced elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats spread over 17 States that were to be vacated in April due to the retirement of MPs. Candidates for 37 seats in 10 States had been elected uncontested. Polling for the remaining 18 seats in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan were to take place on Thursday, as per the ECI’s schedule.

Taking into account the World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11 and various advisories from the Centre on containing the spread of the disease, the ECI on Tuesday decided to defer the elections. In a statement, the ECI noted that the States in question had also issued lockdown orders.

“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 view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country,” an ECI statement said.

A senior ECI official said polling for the seats, which will be vacated in April, had been postponed and the situation would be reviewed after March 31. The decision comes after several State Assemblies, which are the electors in Rajya Sabha elections, curtailed their sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECI said the list of contesting candidates already published would remain the same for the elections to be held at a later date.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 1:27:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajya-sabha-elections-deferred-says-election-commission/article31150090.ece

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