HYDERABAD: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has kept the most-awaited bypoll for Huzurabad Assembly seat on hold while releasing the schedule of bypolls for three Assembly seats in West Bengal and one in Odisha on Saturday.
The ECI has cited the views expressed by the Chief Secretary and the Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana who conveyed the state government's opinion to hold bypoll after festival season on the grounds of flood situations, festivals and Covid pandemic in September/October during a video conference held by ECI on September 1.
The festival season ends with Diwali on November 4. Huzurabad seat fell vacant on June 12 and the ECI has time till December 12 to hold bypoll. The ECI is likely to hold Huzurabad bypoll by November-end. The ECI's decision also indicates that the polls for six MLC seats under MLAs’ quota will also be deferred till November that were originally scheduled for May this year.
A press release issued by the ECI on Saturday said, "The Chief Secretaries of states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh brought to the notice of the commission the constraints related to flood situations, festivals and pandemic. They suggested that it would be advisable to have by-elections after the end of the festival season."
The ECI added, "After taking into consideration the inputs and views of the Chief Secretaries of the concerned states and respective Chief Electoral Officers, the commission has decided not to hold by-elections in these states."
The Telangana government conveyed the same opinion to the ECI in August to defer MLC polls for six seats under MLAs’ quota when the commission sought the state government's readiness to hold polls. In a letter written to the ECI on August 1, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar sought deferment of MLC polls stating that the state was witnessing 600 Covid positive cases per day and the vaccination process had not been completed. The term of these six MLCs ended on June 3 and normally the ECI initiates election process one month prior to the term ends.