Credits: PTI / Facebook / ECI
The Madras High Court pulled up the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not stopping political parties from conducting rallies even as COVID cases continued to surge and noted that the EC was singularly responsible for the second wave of the pandemic. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee noted that it was distressing to remind constitutional authorities that public health was paramount and warned of stopping the counting of votes on May 2 if COVID protocols were not followed. Madras HC further directed the EC and Tamil Nadu's CEO to hold meetings with the state's health secretary in order to create a plan which will ensure that COVID protocols were followed and asked ECI to submit the blueprint before the Court on April 30. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee opined that the ECI officials should be 'booked on murder charges probably' for allowing political rallies amid COVID-19.
"Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?", Chief Justice of Madras High Court asked ECI.
"Public health is of paramount importance and it is distressing that constitutional authorities have to be reminded in such regard. It is only when a citizen survives that he'll be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees", Chief Justice told ECI.
With AIADMK announcing its state alliance with BJP, the EPS-OPS-led party declared itself as the ' big brother' in the NDA alliance. Former Jaya aide Sasikala announced her sudden decision to quit politics, thereby ending speculations of her role in the upcoming elections. The AIADMK has also survived a long-running tug-of-war over its leadership with Sasikala announcing her intention to retire from politics, and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran allying his AMMK with the SDPI, Asaduddin Owaiai's AIMIM and Captain Vijaykanth's DMDK. Meanwhile, in a bid to woo voters, EPS has announced a massive farm loan waiver, free COVID vaccines, Pongal gift and rescinded cases against Jallikattu protestors, anti-CAA protestors, COVID lockdown violators and Kudankulam nuclear power plant protestors. Meanwhile, ex-CM Karunanidhi's successor - DMK chief MK Stalin eyes his maiden CM term as DMK cannot afford to lose a third straight Assembly election after sweeping the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with 38 seats. Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly took place on April 6 and the results will be declared on May 2.