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Rajya Sabha polls scheduled on March 26 deferred amid coronavirus chaos

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The Rajya Sabha election scheduled for Thursday has been deferred amid India’s fight against coronavirus. The Election Commission will review the situation after March 31 for a fresh date for the polls and counting.

“The prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all concerned to possible health hazards,” the Election Commission said.

The poll process would have involved the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and MLAs, said the poll body, “which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country”.

The polls were to be held for 18 seats that will fall vacant after the term of members ends. The seats include four each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two in Jharkhand and one each in Manipur and Meghalaya.

Nominations were filed for 55 Rajya Sabha seats in 17 states. Of these, 37 candidates were elected unopposed after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination ended.

There were demands to postpone the election because MLAs were unable to travel due to travel restrictions. BJP leaders in Rajashthan were among those also demanded postponement of the Rajya Sabha polls.

Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat likely to be postponed