In view of the increasing spread and threat of COVID-19 pandemic, the Assam State Election Commission on Friday deferred the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) election 2020.
Addressing reporters on Friday, State Election Commissioner Alok Kumar said, “The Assam State Election Commission notified the schedule of the general election to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) 2020 vide notification on March 11 as the term of the general council of BTC is to expire on April 27, 2020.”
But the Centre, as well as the Assam government, issued several advisories related to the COVID-19 pandemic following which a number of measures have been strengthened.
ALok Kumar said, “Several political parties, organizations, Members of Parliament and citizens have submitted a memorandum to the Assam State Election Commission with a request to deter the BTC Election 2020 in view of increasing spread and threat of COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said the Assam government vide a letter DO No. CS/BTC(ELE)/2020/01 on Friday brought to the notice of the ECI the requirement of putting restrictions on the movement of people, mass gathering and maintaining social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Further, the government has requested the Commission to consider postponing the BTC Election scheduled to be held on April 4, 2020, as the restrictions imposed in the state including BTAD areas will affect the conduct of free and fair BTC election,” State election commissioner Kumar said.
Considering these facts, the Assam State Election Commission has “deferred the remaining phases of BTC Election, 2020 after March 21, 2020, after finalization of the list of contesting candidates in each constituency of BTC”, Kumar said.
“A new schedule will be notified for poll, re-poll (if any), and counting while giving adequate time for campaigning,” he added.
However, the Model Code of Conduct will continue to be in force for the time being and it will be reviewed at the time of issue of notification of remaining phases of the election.