Mohammed Ali Shabbir

Congress writes to TSEC seeking postponement of ULB polls

Hyderabad, April 18, 2021: Former Minister & ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana State Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Sunday urged the Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) to postpone the ordinary elections to 7 ULBs, including Greater Warangal and Khammam Municipal Corporations, 9 casual vacancies in other ULBs in view of worsening Covid-19 pandemic situation.

“We would like to request you to postpone the elections in view of deteriorating conditions due to Covid-19 pandemic. The State Government has cancelled the SSC exams and promoted Intermediate First Year students while postponing the second year exams. Covid-19 guidelines have been revised to make them more stringent so as to prevent further spread of Coronavirus among people. Many national events, including the historic Kumbh Mela, have been wound up 13 days before its schedule. Since elections will involve intense electioneering by all political parties and candidates by way of public meetings/rallies/other gatherings, the common people will face the risk of getting Covid-19 infection. Even door-to-door campaigning will not be safe as many asymptomatic people may move freely in these districts as super-spreaders,” Shabbir Ali said in his letter to Election Commissioner C. Parathasarathi.

Shabbir Ali said that there was a huge rise in Covid-19 cases across Telangana State, especially in the last two weeks. As per the media bulletin issued by the Director of Public Health & Family Welfare, Govt of Telangana, a record 4,446 fresh cases and 12 deaths were reported on 16th April, 2021 till 8 pm. As against 13,272 reported in Telangana from 3rd-9th April, a total of 22,240 cases were reported in the week from 10th-16th April, 2021, registering a whopping 68% increase, he said.

Further, the Congress leader pointed out that Covid cases were increasing at an alarming rate in the poll-bound districts. Compared to the previous week (3rd-9th April), there has been a huge increase in Covid cases this week (10th-16th April). It was 215% in Warangal Rural; 47% in Warangal Urban; 124% in Khammam; 105% in Nagarkurnool; 105% in Siddipet; 88% in Nalgonda; 76% in Mahabubnagar and 73% in Ranga Reddy district.

“While the entire country is finding ways to minimise the damage due to the second wave of Covid-19, it would be highly inappropriate for the Telangana State Election Commission to hold polls at this juncture. It will be like exposing 11,26,221 voters and their families in 7 ULBs to the risk of getting infected with Covid-19. Further, about 9,000 polling staff and thousands of security personnel, who will be deployed for poll duties, too would be directly exposed to the Covid-19 infection. Therefore, in view of public safety, we request you to kindly postpone the elections on an immediate basis,” Shabbir Ali demanded.

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