Considered deferring polls due to COVID but decided against it, says Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar amid criticism
Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that by defering the phases of the election, it would have led to a situation where they would be conducted under President's rule, this would have triggered sharper criticism about the poll panel favouring one party against another.
May 08, 2021 / 04:34 PM IST
The Election Commission(EC) had considered deferring the recently-held elections due to the second wave of coronavirus currently underway in the country, but decided not to go ahead with it, a draft affidavit reveals.
Per this draft affidavit, which was to be filed in the Madras High Court and Supreme Court, Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that by deferring the phases of the election, it would have led to a situation where they would be conducted under President's rule.
This would have triggered sharper criticism about the poll panel favouring one party against another, he said as per News18 reports.
Kumar had also offered up his resignation saying that the institution “needs to be absolved of the doubts cast on it to save the democracy" lest everyone else start making insinuations and allegations in much more magnified, exponentially derogatory terms".
This draft affidavit could not be published due to procedural reasons. However, according to sources, Kumar had proposed to file this affidavit in response to Madras High Court observations that the poll panel was singularly responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases and murder charges be put on its responsible officers.
This affidavit was also not part of the Election Commission of India’s application filed in Madras High Court and its plea in the Supreme Court seeking expunction of the remarks made by the high court.
However, the same was not granted to the EC by the Supreme Court as it held that the oral observations were not part of “official judicial record" and hence there was no question of expunging them, the report said.
Source within the EC also told News18 that an “additional affidavit" by Kumar was technically not possible at that time as per the advice of the counsel.