The Election Commission of India on Tuesday postponed the Rajya Sabha elections, which were scheduled for March 26 as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 492, the Hindustan Times reported.
In an attempt to contain the virus’ spread, all but four states and Union Territories went into either complete lockdown, with strict action taken against those violating curbs in some parts. All domestic flights will be suspended from Wednesday, while trains and inter-state buses have already been cancelled.
“We have decided to defer the polls as the situation is not conducive for them,” an unidentified official told the newspaper.
The Election Commission said that the “unforeseen” situation arising out of the outbreak calls for avoiding any kind of gathering. “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,” a press release from the election body read.
The new date for elections, that were scheduled to be held for 18 seats across seven states, will be announced after the election body reviews the situation after March 31, NDTV reported.
Thirty seven ruling and Opposition party candidates were elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha on March 18. Elections to the remaining seats in the Upper House from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat were scheduled for March 26.