PRI, municipal polls put on hold

ITANAGAR, Mar 20: The State Election Commission (SEC) has put the panchayati raj institution (PRI) and the urban local body elections on hold in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As per an order issued by State Election Commissioner Hage Kojeen on Friday, the elections have been put on hold “till normalcy is restored in respect of the coronavirus epidemic.”
He said the decision has been taken under Article 243K and Article 243ZA of the constitution after “careful consideration of the facts and circumstances.”
“The commission will make a further assessment in consultation with stakeholders, specially the health department, for taking a considered decision on resumption of the election process,” the order said.
It said conducting the elections would entail a large number of public gatherings in the form of public meetings, campaigns and rallies throughout the election period.
“The state election commission is of the firm view that continuing with the scheduled election process would be detrimental and harmful for the public health at large due to the possible spread of Covid-19,” it said.
The state government has also requested that the schedule for holding the simultaneous general elections to the PRIs and municipal bodies be announced only after proper assessment of the prevailing situation of the coronavirus in the state in particular and the country in general.
Several political parties during an all-party meeting held on 18 March had also requested the commission to consider postponement of the local body elections until the situation improves.
The SEC had earlier finalized the schedule for holding elections to the PRIs and the urban local bodies of Itanagar and Pasighat during April/May 2020.