Vote counting in TN on May 2: New orders for candidates and political agents! What you should know?

As Tamil Nadu is five days ahead of the vote counting of the recently held state assembly polls, the state election commission has issued fresh guidelines and orders to the party candidates and agents during the vote-counting process. The guidelines have come when the state has been grimly witnessing the exponential rise in the COVID-19 cases and the adversity posed by the second wave of the pandemic.

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo has on Monday said that the candidates and the political party agents must produce negative RT-PCR test certificates while entering the counting centres on May 2. Sahoo had instructed the District Election Officers (Collectors) to ensure that only those who have a negative RT-PCR certificate or who have been vaccinated with both doses can enter the counting centres. 

Sahoo said that candidates and agents who had received both the doses of the vaccine need not have to produce the negative certificate and he also had advised the district election officers to plan ahead with the view of refraining from confusions on the day of counting. Several district collectors have informed Sahoo that they will be organizing special camps for candidates and agents of political parties on April 29 and 30 in their respective constituencies. 

In special camps, the candidates and agents will be verified whether they have all the required documents to enter the counting center. Tamil Nadu had gone through the crucial single-phase assembly poll on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2. Tamil Nadu people and the parties are keenly waiting for the counting which will declare who will rule the state for the next five years.  

The recently held assembly poll is the first legislative election in the state since the demise of Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa which in a way has made the first election for Edappadi Palaniswami as the Chief Minister and for MK Stalin as the DMK President. Around 4000 candidates had contested in the polls to fill the 234-member assembly and the state had witnessed five fronts on the race towards the reign, in an unprecedented fashion.

On Monday, the Madras High Court has flayed the Election Commission of India for having failed to ensure that the COVID-19 guidelines are being followed during election campaigns. The principal bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had held the Election Commission responsible for the emergence of the second wave of the pandemic and said that the Election Commission should be booked for murder.