After first demanding that the Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) immediately postpone the upcoming municipal elections to be held on April 30 in two municipal corporations and five municipalities of the state in view of the current pandemic situation, Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir today filed a lunch motion petition with the Telangana High Court regarding the matter.
In the petition, the former minister told the court that Covid-19 cases were rising in a rapid manner in Telangana and argued that the upcoming elections needed to be postponed for the sake of public health.
He told the HC that the state government had already implemented a night curfew
in the state, which further evidenced the risk posed by Covid-19.
However, Chief Justice Hima Kohli declined to hear Shabbir Ali's petition and advised him to once again approach the SEC with his concerns.
Following Judge Kohli's decision, the Congress leader is reportedly considering filing a regular petition seeking the rescheduling of the ULB elections.
It is pertinent to mention here that Shabbir Ali's petition today came after a single-judge bench of the HC declined to entertain a similar petition filed by the Congress earlier. After dismissing the petition, the bench asked the petitioners to approach the SEC and the state government with their concerns.
The SEC too has not taken very kindly to the repeated demands for postponing the elections. In an attempt to convince the body, the leader had even written a letter
to it last week. In it, he pointed out, "There has been a huge rise in Covid-19 cases across Telangana, especially in the last two weeks. As per a bulletin issued by the health department, a record 4,446 fresh cases and 12 deaths were reported on April 16. As against the 13,272 cases reported in Telangana between April 3 and 9, a total of 22,240 cases were reported between April 10 and 16. This translates to a 68% increase. The increase in cases in the districts in which polling is to be held has also been nothing less than alarming - compared to the previous week, there has been a 215% rise in cases recorded in Warangal Rural, a 47% rise in Warangal Urban, a 124% rise in Khammam, a 105% rise in Nagarkurnool, a 105% rise in Siddipet, an 88% rise in Nalgonda, a 76% rise in Mahabubnagar and a 73% rise in Rangareddy. This further proves the pressing need to push back the upcoming elections."