55% citizens want state polls to be postponed amid rising Covid cases: Survey | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: With Assembly Elections approaching in five poll-bound states amidst the rise in COVID cases, 55 percent citizens believe elections should be postponed by one or two months , according to a survey done by Local Circles. Many are concerned about the BA.2 sub variant of Omicron, which is already spreading in India and could extend the third wave peak in poll bound states due to elections and gatherings.
The survey received 10,310 responses from citizens located in 292 districts of India including 3928 responses from districts in these 5 states. When citizens were asked a similar question regarding these state elections on January 9, 31% were in favour of postponing these state elections altogether, which has now increased to 55% in the January 24 survey. This indicates that as COVID cases positivity rates in poll-bound districts rise, an over 75% jump has been observed in the number of people who support that state elections be postponed.
Majority believe gatherings and elections before the peak of the third wave could worsen COVID spread as already 40% of the districts in five poll-bound states, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa now have a test positivity rate (TPR) of over 10%, which is only rising every week. At the state level, Uttar Pradesh witnessed a jump of 48% in the daily cases for the week ended on Jan 22 as compared to the previous week. The number for Punjab stands at 41%. In Punjab, 19 out of 22 districts have a TPR of more than 10%, with 8 of them having a TPR of over 20%. Similarly, 11 districts each in Manipur and Uttar Pradesh, 6 in Uttarakhand, and both in Goa have weekly TPR above 10%.
At a country level, 52% of districts or 379 districts have a weekly positivity rate above 10% and that includes 40% of the districts in the 5 poll-bound states. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a TPR below 5% means virus transmission is under some control, however, a number above this percentage means the rate of infection will rise.
” The current term of State Assemblies of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are due to expire in mid-to late-March and that of Uttar Pradesh in mid-May. Given the feedback from people, we would like Election Commission to consider postponing the election date in the states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur by 2-3 weeks such that counting can still take place before the terms expire. In the case of Uttar Pradesh, a similar consideration may be given such that counting/results deadline can still be the same as other states but the polling phases are started at a later date than Feb 10th,” said Sachin Taparia, Founder of LocalCircles.
The Election Commission on January 8 had banned political parties in the poll-bound states from holding roadshows and physical rallies until Jan 15, which was then extended till January 22. The Election Commission will again take stock of the situation and decide on physical rallies. The commission on January 17 had postponed the election in Punjab to February 20 due to the Guru Ravidas Jayanti celebrations in which 20 lakh voters were likely to miss polling.
Elections in Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh are set to commence from February 10th – March 10th. “Despite a ban by the Election Commission on rallies, if the elections dates are in February, it is likely to lead to gatherings of different types leading to worsening of the situation, which is something that is best avoided. In addition to that, the voter turnout is likely to be impacted. By moving polling dates to early March where possible, both these issues can be addressed”, said Taparia.

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