GUWAHATI: Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that a formal request has been made to the State Election Commission to put the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections on hold in view of the deteriorating COVID situation in the state.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a programme at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital here, Sarma informed that the state health department has written to the state poll panel to consider postponement of the BTC elections owing to the surge in COVID cases.
“Besides, the department has informed the chief secretary day before yesterday to put the BTC elections on hold and also withdraw the model code of conduct,” the minister said.
The minister further observed that if the elections and campaigning in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District areas (comprising Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang) were not stopped, then it would not only pose a grave threat to the health of people in the four districts but would also affect the residents of the adjoining districts.
“It will become very difficult for the health department to control further spread of the virus as assembly of people in large numbers will invariably make people susceptible to more infections. Not just the four BTAD districts, but the disease would spread to Barpeta, Darrang, Nalbari, Sonitpur, and other areas too. We will not be able to handle the situation. As it is, we are facing shortage of oxygen,” the minister said.
Elections to 40 constituencies of the council were earlier scheduled for April 4, 2020, but had to be postponed to the later part of the year because of the COVID outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
Till Friday night, the state registered more than 1.52 lakh COVID-19 positive cases with as many as 540 deaths reported so far