The Election Commission (EC) has asked chief secretaries of states where votes are being counted today to file FIRs against congregation of people to celebrate the anticipated victory of their leaders. The EC’s direction came in response to media reports showcasing public celebrations in several areas across these states.
Notably, the counting of votes for the assembly polls in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Puducherry is underway at a time the country is grappling with a raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Take action against police officers, says EC
The poll panel has also directed the chief secretaries to suspend police officers of local police stations who are responsible for not taking action against such celebratory crowding. It has also directed the authorities to initiate criminal/ disciplinary action against such police officers.
The poll panel has already issued a statement in this regard clarifying that the chief secretaries of the five states have been asked to report the action taken in each case immediately.
Action after HC’s criticism
The host of measures taken by the EC to combat the COVID-19 spread comes after the Madras High Court lashed out at the Election Commission and held in “singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19”.
The court had remarked that EC officials should be charged for murder following which the poll panel turned serious and took some concrete steps to combat the spread of the viral infection on the day of counting.
The EC had on Tuesday banned all victory processions on or after the counting of votes for the Assembly elections in five states that will be declared on May 2.
The poll panel, in its detailed order, had said no more than two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate to receive their victory certificate for the May 2 election result.
Earlier, the EC had banned all roadshows, padyatras and vehicle rallies in Bengal which is in the middle of an 8-phase assembly election and a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.
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