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

Election Commission bans all victory processions on or after counting on May 2
Trinacool Congress' Mamata Banerjee addressing a rally in West Bengal, ahead of the elections, where massive crowds were seen flouting social distancing and not wearing a maskBCCL
  • The Election Commission has issued a notification that no victory processions should take place on or after the results of state elections are tallied on May 2.
  • This means the winning party in Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Puducherry and Kerala will not be allowed to take to streets and encourage the gathering of people.
  • The development comes after the Madras High Court told the ECI is it should be ‘booked on murder charges’ for its handling of the pre-election political rallies and campaigns.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has banned all victory processions and celebrations after the results of the state elections in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry, West Bengal, and Kerala come out on May 2.

The ECI has also dictated that no more than two people shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate when they come to collect their election certificate.

“In view of the surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the commission has decided to make more stringent provisions to be followed during the process of counting,” said the notification.

The development comes after the Madras High Court said that the ECI should be “booked on murder charges” during a hearing on April 26. The court pointed the finger at ECI for not doing anything to stop the political rallies that were being held in different states ahead of the elections.

Massive political rallies with no social distancing or face masks

The political rallies saw people come out in massive numbers to hear their favourite politicians. Not only was there no social distancing, but many were also seen amid the crowds without a mask.

The ECI only stepped in on April 22 to ban roadshows, vehicle rallies, and public meetings. On the same day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that he would be cancelling four of his rallies that were scheduled for April 23. And by then the cases of COVID-19 had already begun to surge in states with elections.

The High Court threatened the ECI to come up with a proper plan to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are followed on counting day, May 2, or it will pull the plug on the entire exercise. It has asked the ECI to submit the blueprint of its plan by April 30.

“The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes second,” said the court.

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