NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has deferred the Rajya Sabha poll for 55 seats which will fall vacant during April 2020.
The poll panel has said that the fresh date for the poll will be announced after review of the prevailing situation.
The elections were to be held on March 26, to fill up the 55 seats in the Upper House of Parliament but 37 candidates have already been elected without a contest.
The decision on holding the election for the remaining 18 seats will be taken based on the prevailing situation, the sources said.
Referring to the shutdown of transport services including flights, railway and inter-state buses, EC said, “Commission has reviewed in detail the matter. The prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all concerned to possible health hazard.
The poll process in the above said elections would necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and members of respective Legislative Assemblies on the poll day, which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country.”
It further said, Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 specifies that the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, may extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it mentioned under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39. And accordingly, the Election Commission has deferred the poll and extended the period of the said election under the provisions of section 153 of the said Act.
The list of contesting candidates, already published for the said elections by the respective Returning Officers shall remain valid for the purposes of remaining activities, as prescribed under the said notification.
“Fresh date of poll and counting for the said biennial elections shall be announced in due course after reviewing the prevailing situation,” said the Commission.
Nearly 500 coronavirus cases have been reported in India so far, according to Health Ministry data on Tuesday.