The Election Commission (EC) Tuesday banned all victory processions during and after the counting of votes on May 2 in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases across the country.
This comes a day after the Madras High Court came down heavily on the commission for “not stopping political parties” from violating Covid protocols during their campaign rallies last month.
EC has also capped the number of people permitted to accompany the winning candidate to receive the election certificate to two. The decisions, EC said, were taken in “view of the surge in Covid-19 cases throughout the country”.
On Monday, the Madras High Court had criticized the Commission and said it was “the only institution responsible for the situation we are in today”.
The scathing observations came four days after the Calcutta High Court had censured the EC for not doing enough to ensure that political parties were following appropriate Covid protocols amid the surging second wave.
“You have been singularly lacking any kind of exercise of authority. You have not taken measures against political parties holding rallies despite every order of this court saying ‘maintain Covid protocol, maintain Covid protocol’,” the Madras High Court had observed while hearing a petition filed by AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar. The AIADMK leader is seeking directions for the EC to implement strict measures during counting on May 2 at his Karur constituency, where 77 candidates have contested.
The Bench also directed the EC to prepare a blueprint before May 2 on how Covid protocols will be maintained so that “this state does not succumb to your idiosyncrasies any further”. The court also warned that it will order the counting to be stopped if the poll body failed to take corrective steps.