EC To 5 Poll-Bound States: Ramp Up COVID-19 Vaccination

New Delhi: It’s clear now that upcoming assembly elections in five states will be held on schedule, despite the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in India.

On Monday, the Election Commission of India wrote to chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, asking them to “accelerate” pace of COVID-19 vaccination. Low percentage of first-dose coverage in Manipur is a concern, EC pointed out.

Elections are due in February, and the EC is expected to release the poll schedule soon.

Last week, EC stressed on the need to speed up vaccination in these five states at a press conference in Lucknow.

In December, an Allahabad High Court judge had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EC to consider postponing elections because of the rising cases and a possible third wave.

However, all parties in Uttar Pradesh wanted the election to be held as per schedule at a meeting with EC. “All the political parties, without any difference of opinion, said that elections should be conducted on time while following Covid protocol,” the EC said.

“EC will execute the responsibility assigned to it as per the Constitution. While executing that responsibility, whatever will be required to consider — either rising COVID numbers or managing the increasing rallies — elections will be announced after taking that into consideration,” Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had said.

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