State Assembly Election 2022 Unlikely To Be Postponed Amid Omicron Variant Scare In India: Sources

New Delhi: The Election Commission is unlikely to postpone the upcoming elections to five states (Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur) despite a sharp spike in cases of the highly transmissible Omicron Covid-19 variant, NDTV reported quoting sources.

The elections to the five states are likely to be held in February-March next year. The Election Commission is expected to announce poll dates next month.

The terms of Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Manipur legislative assemblies are set to end in March and that of Uttar Pradesh in May.

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission took stock of the Covid-19 situation in the five poll-bound states in a meeting with the Union health secretary. The EC also asked the Narcotics Control Bureau to check the influence of drugs in elections, PTI reported.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan briefed the poll panel on the Covid situation in the country, especially the poll-bound states. The issue of the spread of Omicron variant of the coronavirus was also discussed, PTI reported.

On Tuesday, the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners are slated to visit Uttar Pradesh to take stock of the poll preparedness in the state. The commission has already visited Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand.

Last week, an Allahabad High Court bench of Justice Shekhar Yadav urged the government and the Election Commission to consider postponing the Uttar Pradesh polls for a month or two and banning all political rallies amid the fears of an impending third wave of Covid.

Omicron Cases In India

The Omicron tally in India has already crossed the 500 mark. Delhi has recorded the most cases of Omicron in the country (142), followed by Maharashtra (141), the Health Ministry said. 

A study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur has predicted that a third wave of the pandemic in India might peak by February 3, 2022.

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