A day after the Madras High Court came down heavily on the Election Commission of India, the poll-panel on Tuesday (April 27) banned all victory processions during and after the counting.
According to the EC notification, “Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned.”
The counting is to take place in four states and one Union Territory on May 2. The final result may be announced by late evening or a day later. As the court has asked for special arrangements to be made under COVID-19 guidelines, counting of votes may take a bit longer time to complete.
As counting is usually done in closed big halls with election officials and party workers inside them, there is a high risk for the spread of pandemic. Therefore, special arrangements will be made for maintaining social distancing.
The Election Commission order came after the country reported 3.23 lakh cases of corona virus and 2,771 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Though the number of positive cases has dropped by 30,000 for the first time in the last several weeks there is no let-up in the number of people losing their lives—it was 2,767 a day before.
This is the sixth day in a row that India reported more than three lakh cases. The total fatalities in the last over one year due to COVID-19 has almost reached 1.98 lakh.
Independent political observers are surprised over the way the Election Commission is now responding after the crackdown by the Calcutta and Madras High Courts. The poll-panel allowed hundreds of election rallies at the peak of the pandemic and is now only banning victory processions which are usually smaller than huge public meetings.