The Rajya Sabha elections were scheduled to be held on March 26.
Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday deferred the Rajya Sabha elections that were scheduled for Thursday in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
"The prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency indicates the need for avoidance of possibilities of gatherings of any nature, which expose all concerned to possible health hazard. The poll process in the above said elections would necessarily include the gathering of polling officials, agents of political parties, support officials and members of respective Legislative Assemblies on the poll day, which may not be suitable in view of the prevailing unforeseen situation and related advisories in the country,” the note said.
Election to fill up 55 seats in the Upper House of Parliament was to be held on March 26, but 37 candidates have already been elected without a contest, the EC said in a press note.
The EC will review the situation after March 31, the note said.
The polls were to be held for 18 seats that will fall vacant after the term of members ends.
The seats include four each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two in Jharkhand and one each in Manipur and Meghalaya.
Nominations were filed for 55 Rajya Sabha seats in 17 states. Of these, 37 candidates were elected unopposed after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination ended on Wednesday.
So far, nearly 500 coronavirus cases have been reported in India, according to Health Ministry data on Tuesday. As cases of the viral infection surged, authorities have put almost the entire country under lockdown, banning gathering of people and suspending road, rail and air traffic till March 31.
First Published: IST