With the upsurge in the COVID-19 cases in India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has banned victory processions after the counting of votes for the State Assembly elections and by-elections on 2nd May, 2021.
Results of Assembly elections held in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be announced on 2nd May,2021. While the eighth and last phase of election will be held in West Bengal on April 29, the voting exercise is over in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.
\"In view of the surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the Commission has decided to make more stringent provision to be followed during the process of counting. No victory procession after the counting on May 2 shall be permissible,\" an order issued by the poll body to chief electoral officers of all states and Union Territories said.
It also said that \"Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorised representative receive the certificate of election from the returning officer concerned.\"
The Election Commission ban on victory processions comes as the country witnesses a severe second wave of Covid-19 that has been claiming over 2,000 lives on a daily basis for the past few days.
Reacting to the ban, BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda said, \"I welcome the decision of the ECI banning celebrations and processions of electoral victories. I have directed all state units of BJP to strictly adhere to this decision. All karyakartas of BJP are using their energies to help the ones in need in this hour of crisis.\"
Earlier the Madras high court on Monday, 26 April, held the Election Commission as \"singularly responsible\" for the second wave of Covid-19 in India. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee even went to the extent of noting that EC officials should probably be \"booked on murder charges\" for allowing political rallies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Coming down heavily on the poll body, the high court bench said that a proper \"blueprint\" of a plan to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are followed on May 2 must be submitted before it by April 30, failing which the court might even resort to stopping the counting of votes.