New Delhi: Days before the Election Commission of India (ECI) is to announce schedule for upcoming assembly elections in five states, poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Friday took to his Twitter handle to suggest ‘only safe way’ to hold the electoral exercise amid drastic surge in country’s daily Covid-19 infections.
“EC MUST insist on 2 vaccine doses for at least 80% people in poll bound states. This is the only SAFE way to hold #elections in the midst of a raging pandemic. Rest everything is HOGWASH. The notion of guidelines for #Covid appropriate behaviour which no one follows is FARCICAL,” Kishore shared on Twitter.
Prashant Kishor’s tweet comes at a time when the poll panel has made visits to the election-bound states to take stock of their preparedness, as well as the Covid-19 situation in respective states. In December last year, officials of the body, led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra, visited Uttar Pradesh, one of the five states where elections are due, and held consultation with major political parties.
All parties, said CEC Chandra, suggested that ‘elections should take place on time.’
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the poll body held separate meetings with Rajesh Bhushan, the Union health secretary, and Ajay Bhalla, the Union home secretary, to take stock of the situation amid a rise in new cases, driven primarily by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Last year, the ECI came under fire for holding assembly elections in four states and the Union territory of Puducherry even as a devastating second Covid-19 wave swept the nation.
Besides Uttar Pradesh, the four states which will hold polls are Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Political parties have decided to call off public rallies, and hold their programmes virtually.