- EC today sought data Covid cases in poll bound states from Ministry of Health.
- The poll body has asked Centre to ramp up vaccination in these states.
- Assembly elections are due in Goa, Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur in 2022.
The Election Commission of India on Monday asked the Centre to ramp up vaccination in states with upcoming assembly elections, given the rise in Covid cases across the country, along with a new covid variant Omicron spreading in several states.
The statement comes after the EC sought inputs on the state of Covid cases in the 5 poll-bound states, which are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa.
In Uttarakhand and Goa about 100% eligible population has been inoculated with the first dose, while in UP 85% eligible population has been given the first dose. In Manipur and Punjab less than 80% eligible population has been jabbed with the first dose, reports said. The data was submitted by the Ministry of Health to the Election Commission.
Assembly elections amid Omicron concerns
Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and the threat posed by the Omicron variant, concerns have been raised over the conducting of elections and rallies in the five poll-bound states.
The Election Commission also met top officials of ITBP, BSF, and SSB and pressed for maintaining strict vigil on international borders some of the poll-going states share. Sources aware of the meetings said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan briefed the poll panel for nearly an hour on the Covid situation in the country.
“Drugs shouldn’t influence polls”
During their interaction with top officials of NCB, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Border Security Force (BSF), the poll panel asked the Narcotics Control Bureau to ensure drugs do not influence polls.
The commission, in particular, referred to Punjab and Goa with regard to drug smuggling, the sources said.
Chief Election Commissioner to visit UP
On Tuesday, the Chief Election Commissioner and fellow Election Commissioners are scheduled to visit Uttar Pradesh to take stock of the poll preparedness in the state.
An Allahabad High Court bench of Justice Shekhar Yadav had on Thursday last urged the government and the poll panel to consider postponing the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections for a month or two and banning all political rallies amid the fears of an impending third wave of Covid.