New Delhi: The Centre has asked all the poll-bound states to strengthen the vaccination process and testing for Covid. Assembly Elections of the five states - Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand are to be held early next year. The Centre has stated that there should be strict Enforcement of Covid-appropriate behavior and testing should be "exponentially accelerated" to curb any sudden surge of the virus. This comes amid the court's demand to postpone elections because of the threat from the highly contagious Covid strain Omicron.
According to sources, the Election Commission will not push the dates and stick to the schedule. They will follow hold the polls before the terms of the state assemblies end.
Centre had held a meeting and reviewed the public health response measures and vaccination status in the poll-bound states. In the review, they came across that Uttarakhand and Goa had higher than the national average for vaccination for the first and second doses, the numbers in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur were well below. A government statement has stated so.
The Centre has advised to strengthen up the vaccination process, "through the district-wise weekly plan with daily review".
In the statement, the government also said that the state authorities have been "strongly advised" to ensure that recommended Covid-appropriate behavior is strictly followed and "adequate measures are undertaken for their effective enforcement".
Earlier this year, the Election Commission had come under much criticism as the second wave of Covid swept through the country on the heels of a string of state elections. Experts pointed to regular physical campaigning by political parties, unhampered by any restrictions from the Commission or Covid-safety measures.
The Covid is a global threat and the new variant Omicron is increasing like a forest fire. Hence the Allahabad High Court has appealed that the elections should be pushed.