Election Commission bans victory processions on or after counting on May 2

27 April 2021

The Election Commission has decided to ban all victory processions from political parties during or after the declaration of election results on May 2. The decision comes a day after the Madras high court held the EC accountable and said the poll body was responsible for the second Covid-19 wave.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday banned all victory processions on or after vote counting on May 2 in view of the rise in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases across the country. Issuing an order to the chief electoral officers of all states and union territories, the EC said that it has decided to put out more stringent provisions, to be followed during the process of vote-counting. No victory processions after the counting on May 2 shall be permissible. Additionally, no more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate while receiving the election certificate, the poll body said.

In a letter signed by Sumit Mukherjee, the senior public relations secretary to the Election Commission of India, the poll body said that it had issued broad guidelines on August 21 last year to conduct elections during Covid-19, after receiving suggestions from national and state-based political parties. The guidelines for political parties conducting election campaigns and public meetings had also been reviewed based on suggestions received from various chief electoral officers of states and union territories, the letter read. The Covid-19 related provisions for counting of votes on May 2 are to be in accordance with the broad guidelines dated August 21, 2020, with the addition of the new protocols issued today.

"No victory procession after the counting on 2.5.2021 shall be permissible. Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative receives the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned," the EC letter detailed the new protocols on the vote-counting day, pertaining to the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

The Madras high court had on Monday held the Election Commission as "singularly responsible" for the second wave of Covid-19 in India. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee even went to the extent of noting that EC officials should probably be "booked on murder charges" for allowing political rallies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Coming down heavily on the poll body, the high court bench said that a proper "blueprint" of a plan to ensure Covid-19 protocols are followed on May 2 must be submitted before it by April 30, failing which the court might even resort to stopping the counting of votes.

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Joydeep Bose

UPDATED ON APR 27, 2021 10:43 AM IST

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