On 25.02.2020, Election Commission of India announced elections to the Council of States to fill 55 seats of Members from 17 States, retiring in the month of April,2020, which were notified vide Notification No. 318/CS-Multi/2020(1) dated 06.03.2020. After the last date of withdrawal on 18.03.2020, respective Returning Officers declared 37 seats from 10 States filled in uncontested. Further, as per the reports received from the concerned Returning Officers, the biennial elections for 18 seats from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Rajasthan were to be conducted on 26.03.2020 (Thursday) and the date before which election was to be completed as earlier announced by the Commission was 30.03.2020 (Monday) as per the notification dated 06.03.2020.
Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 specifies that the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, may extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39 of the said Act. Accordingly, considering the prevailing unforeseen situation of public health emergency due to COVID-19 and related advisories in the country, the Election Commission, vide its press note, dated 24.03.2020, deferred the poll and extended the period of said election under the provisions of section 153 of the said Act and decided that the announcement of fresh date of poll and counting for the said biennial elections will be made by the ECI after reviewing the prevailing situation. The Press Note also specified that the list of contesting candidates already published for the said election by the respective Returning Officers, is to remain valid for the purpose of remaining activities as was prescribed under the said notification (dated 06.03.2020).
Now, Commission has reviewed the matter in detail. Considering all factors, including the guidelines dated 30.05.2020 issued by Union Home Secretary and Chairman, national Executive Committee (NEC) under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, and taking into account the inputs obtained from the Chief Electoral Officers concerned, the Commission has decided that the date of poll and counting of votes in respect of the biennial elections for 18 seats from the States of Andhra Pradesh (4 seats), Gujarat (4 seats), Jharkhand (2 seats), Madhya Pradesh (3 seats), Manipur (1 seat), Meghalaya (1 seat) and Rajasthan (3 seats) shall be as per the following schedule: