New Delhi: After the Allahabad High Court’s suggestion, speculation is rife about the postponement of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and four other states in view of the possibility of a third wave of corona. Though the court has requested the Election Commission of India (ECI) to delay the polls in UP for one or two months, the other states will also be affected.
However, the Election Commission will find it difficult to delay the polls. But the spread of Omicron has raised many questions at the same time. With the Central government taking tough steps to tackle it, the pressure is building on ECI to take a call. If the elections are deferred, the ruling BJP will be benefited by such a decision, and it will be a setback to the opposition. The opposition will not be able to sustain its campaign much longer. SP leader Ramgopal Yadav has already termed the HC’s suggestion as unfortunate stressing on the need for the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the same. He alleged that since the BJP is afraid of possible defeat in elections, it can go for delaying the polls.
This is not the first time that the court has made such suggestions to the ECI. The government is under pressure to delay the polls also because it was criticized a lot during the Bengal polls which happened amid Covid wave. The situation at present is not that worse, but the possibility of a third wave of corona is also there. Scientists say that Omicron may peak in February when the election campaign will be at climax in UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The voting is likely to take place before 15 March as the governments have to be formed before 18 March in these states. Another point made by the court is that the corona spread was attributed also to the panchayat polls in UP. Constitutional expert P.D.T. Achary says that polls were never postponed in the past. But the polls can be delayed for two to three months if the government and the ECI so decide, he adds. But the President’s rule will be imposed in the states after the end of the government’s term, and all decisions will be taken by the central government then. The ECI team visited Uttarakhand, and it will visit UP as well. The EC has to announce poll dates after 10 January. If at all polls are delayed they may be deferred till April depending on the corona situation. Scientists believe that the situation will be under control till March. However, no political party apparently wants polls to be delayed. PM Narendra Modi has through his rallies created an atmosphere in favour of BJP. At the same time, Congress, SP and other parties have held massive electoral campaigns so far in all these states. But the crowds in rallies may be the cause of corona spread. Observers are of the view that it will be advantageous to BJP if polls are postponed as the BJP-led Centre will call the shots in case of President’s rule in poll-bound states. How can Congress allow Punjab to go under President’s rule? The opposition parties which have already spent huge amounts of money on rallies would not like the polls to be delayed.