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EC meets Health Secretary to review Covid-19 situation ahead of Assembly polls in 5 states

Prime officers of the Election Fee on Monday met Union Well being Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to assessment the Covid-19 scenario within the wake of the extremely infectious Omicron variant forward of meeting polls in 5 states early subsequent yr.

The assembly additionally comes days after the Allahabad Excessive Court docket final week urged the EC and Prime Minister to postpone the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Meeting polls as a result of risk of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“The fee can be continuing to Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon for a scheduled ballot preparedness assessment assembly there and return on thirtieth afternoon,” an EC official mentioned.

The Well being Ministry has despatched multidisciplinary groups to Uttar Pradesh and Punjab – for reporting vaccination beneath the nationwide common. The groups, which can stay stationed within the states for the subsequent 3 to five days, will assess the scenario, recommend remedial actions and submit a report each night by 7 pm.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra final Friday additionally mentioned the Comission will take a name after reviewing the scenario within the state.

The Well being Secretary had on December 23 directed the poll-bound states to “exponentially ramp up vaccination” – particularly within the “low protection districts” to guard the susceptible inhabitants.

Bhushan, in the course of the assessment assembly with all states, additionally raised a purple flag that pockets with low vaccination protection could also be extra susceptible to the brand new Omicron variant, and that district administrations must pay particular consideration to ramp up vaccination in these pockets. Elections are anticipated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur early subsequent yr.

Throughout his go to to Uttarakhand final week, when requested in regards to the Allahabad Excessive Court docket’s request, Chandra mentioned he had been knowledgeable that Uttarakhand had one case of Omicron thus far. He reiterated the EC’s measures for making elections Covid-safe and mentioned the Fee would take motion as per the Structure and the Illustration of the Folks Act, 1951.

Final Friday Allahabad Excessive Court docket urged the Prime Minister to “take robust steps” and think about “stopping and suspending” rallies, conferences and elections.

The Commision is presently visiting all poll-bound states forward of the scheduled meeting elections. It’s customary for the Comission to go to poll-bound states forward of saying their dates. The Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey and Rajiv Kumar have already visite the ballot certain states of Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand and are scheduled to go to, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur subsequent.

Chandra, throughout his assessment go to to Goa mentioned the Election Fee is able to maintain the elections in Goa (and by extension, the opposite states going to polls across the similar time), regardless of the looming risk of one other wave of the coronavirus pandemic, however emphasised that native election officers have been empowered to make sure strict adherence to Covid protocols throughout campaigning, and that the polling itself may even be held with enough precautions.

The present time period of the legislative assemblies of Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand are coming to an finish in March 2022, whereas the time period of the Uttar Pradesh legislative meeting is scheduled to finish in Could.

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