The Election Commission on Thursday deferred legislative council polls in nine seats in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The term of three members of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and six members of the Telangana Legislative Council, elected by members of their respective legislative assemblies (MLAs), are expiring on May 31 and June 3, respectively, the commission said in a statement.
It said as per electoral law, the seats of retiring members are to be filled before their six-year term ends by holding biennial polls.
"The commission has reviewed the matter today (Thursday) and has decided that due to outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, it would not be appropriate to hold biennial election to the legislative councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana respectively till the pandemic situation significantly improves and conditions become conducive to hold these biennial elections," the poll panel said.
The Election Commission said it will take a decision in the matter at an "appropriate time in the future" after taking inputs from the states concerned and assessing the pandemic situation from mandated bodies such as the national and state disaster management authorities.
The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday announced that they will float a global tender in a day or two for procurement of Covid-19 vaccines from foreign manufacturers to complete the vaccination process as quickly as possible.
The state has identified 2.04 crore people in the 18- 45 age group for whom the Covid-19 vaccine has to be administered.
While a portion of the 4.08 crore doses required for these people is expected to come from local vaccine producers, the state is getting ready to buy a sufficient number of doses for at least one crore people, officials said.
"We are exploring the option of buying the vaccine from any foreign manufacturer since there is a short supply of Covishield and Covaxin. We have already placed an order for purchase of Sputnik V vaccine but Dr Reddys Laboratories, the local manufacturer, said it will give clarity on supplies only after May 15 after assessing the production capacity," Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said.
"The vaccines being produced in foreign countries...if there is scope for supply in India...we decided to explore that. We will notify the global tender and wait for a response.
We will make a very serious attempt and see if there is a possibility," he said.
The announcement comes two days after the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy asked the Union government to direct Bharat Biotech and ICMR-NIV to transfer the Covaxin manufacturing technology and IPR (intellectual property rights) to "whoever is interested and capable of manufacturing the vaccine" so that the production could be ramped up. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jagan said that the present total manufacturing capacity of Covaxin does not cater to the country's requirement.