The Election Commission met with Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Monday to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and vaccination status.
The Indian Election Commission has directed the Union Health Ministry to complete the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the five states that are up for election. According to Republic Media Network, the EC has also requested information from the health ministry on the status of vaccination in the five electoral states, particularly the first dose.
In response, the Ministry of Health released information about the COVID-19 immunisation campaign. “About 100% first dose was reported in Uttarakhand and Goa, 85% first dose in Uttar Pradesh, and less than 80% first dose in Manipur and Punjab,” it said.
It said the first dose would be given in Manipur and Punjab.
It also told officials in Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab to speed up the vaccination process. To combat the spread of COVID-19 and its Omicron variant, the Election Commission has directed poll-bound states to carry out maximum vaccination.
The EC met with Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Monday to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and vaccination status. According to ANI, similar meetings between the EC and the health ministry will take place in January of next year.
Next year, assembly elections will be held in five states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, and Punjab.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday urged the Election Commission to postpone polls in Uttar Pradesh for 1-2 months due to an increase in Omicron cases across the country. It also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Election Commission to prohibit political parties from holding rallies and public meetings in the state.
India has reported 578 cases of Variant of Concern (VoC) Omicron, according to the latest Union health ministry update. In the election-bound states, Uttar Pradesh has two cases, while Goa and Uttarakhand each have one.
During the upcoming assembly elections, a petition in the Supreme Court seeks strict enforcement and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
A petition to the Supreme Court was recently filed, asking the court to order the EC to issue strict guidelines, policies, and directions for the enforcement and adherence of COVID protocols during the upcoming state elections. The petition also asked the Supreme Court to order political parties to use digital platforms to promote themselves.
“The upcoming elections, as well as the current promotional campaigning, processions, and public gatherings,” the plea continued, “need to be limited under the notion of public health concerning the state’s duty to preserve the same, which is an integral part under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.”