EC orders action against those celebrating election results in violation of safety norms

In Tamil Nadu, an FIR has been filed in connection with an incident of supporters bursting firecrackers outside a party’s headquarters in Chennai.

The Election Commission on Sunday ordered action against those gathering outside party offices and celebrating the election results of five Assembly polls in violation of the COVID-19-related protocols.

EC secretary general Umesh Sinha told reporters that the counting process was smooth, however, it was taking longer to update the results on the EC’s website due to the server being overloaded. He said the EC had allowed the Returning Officers of the constituencies to declare the results with the consent of the observers as long as counting had been smooth.

Mr. Sinha said there had been instances of political party supporters congregating and trying to take out victory processions, which the EC had banned due to the second wave of COVID-19. During the day, the EC had directed the Chief Secretaries to take action against those involved. In Tamil Nadu, an FIR had been filed in connection with an incident of supporters bursting firecrackers outside a party’s headquarters in Chennai. An inspector of the local police station had also been suspended, he said.

Mr. Sinha said these elections had been one of the largest electoral exercises to have been conducted during the pandemic. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the number of polling booths, postal ballots and counting halls had increased. Postal ballots were offered to all above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities, those affected by COVID-19 and essential service workers, leading to an increase from 2.97 lakh postal ballots cast in the 2016 elections to 13.16 lakh this time.

Violations of COVID protocols during the campaign led to 60 FIRs and 180 show-cause notices, he said.

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