Negative RT-PCR test mandatory for candidates and agents on May 2: TN CEO

The counting of votes for Tamil Nadu’s Assembly Elections is scheduled to be held on May 2.
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Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satyabrata Sahoo on Monday said that a negative RT-PCR test certificate is mandatory for candidates and political party agents who will be entering counting centres on May 2. Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu were held on April 6 and the counting of votes is scheduled to take place on May 2.

According to a report, the CEO has instructed District Election officers to ensure that only those who have a negative RT-PCR certificate or who have been vaccinated with both doses enter the counting stations. Adding that for those who have taken both doses of vaccines, a negative certificate will not be necessary, he also asked district authorities to plan ahead to avoid any confusion on the day of counting. Several district collectors have, in turn, informed the CEO that they will be organising special camps for candidates and agents of political parties on April 29 and 30 in their constituencies to verify and ensure that they have the required documents to enter the counting centre. 

The Madras High Court on Monday slammed the Election Commission of India (ECI) for having failed to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are being followed during election campaigns. Blaming it for single-handedly being responsible for the second wave of infections in the country, the Court said the ECI should be booked for murder. The Principal Bench consisting of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy also said that they will cancel the counting of votes on May 2 if ECI does not submit a clear blueprint of how it intends to maintain COVID-19 protocols in the centres. “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?" the Chief Justice remarked, when the counsel for ECI stated that measures have been taken to curb the spread of the virus. 

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