Karnataka continues to report record-high cases of COVID, with Bengaluru contributing the highest number. On Sunday, a record 19,067 new COVID cases were registered across Karnataka in a day, including 12,793 in Bengaluru, while 81 patients succumbed to the infection. For the last couple of days, the record-high cases have been consistent and there are reports of acute shortage of beds, drugs and medical oxygen to help with the treatment of COVID patients. Amidst all this, the decision to conduct local body elections in the state has drawn severe criticism.

Karnataka Urban Local Body elections have been scheduled to take place on April 27, which come at a time when the state is already battling a health crisis. With shortage of hospital beds, ventilators, medical oxygen, Remdesivir drug and even crematoria, conducting elections redirects resources, which could well be used to strengthen the state's health infrastructure.


Moreover, all public gatherings have been limited to less than 10 persons. For local body elections, door-to-door campaigning, election rallies, large-scale gatherings are common, which in the current situation would only take a toll on the prevailing COVID situation.

Postpone local body elections

Various factions of the political parties in the state have also urged the Election Commission to postpone the impending local body elections in the southern state. After various appeals, the Karnataka government decided to postpone the Zilla Panchayat and Taluq Panchayat elections, which are due in May, but the EC is mum on the soon-to-be-held urban local body elections.

Polling officials busy counting votes cast.IANS

Speaking to International Business Times, Prithvi Reddy, Convenor, AAP Karnataka, pointed out why conducting these local body elections is not the need of the hour, especially when the locations where the elections are to be held lack basic facilities of multi-specialty or government hospitals. Testing positivity rate in Delhi was 30 percent, which means 1 out of 3 people are infected. In a city of a lakh people, 30,000 people could get infected with door-to-door campaigning, election rallies, etc, Reddy noted.

"When people at the highest level are getting infected, with what face are you telling go door-to-door. Unlike MLA or MP elections, local body elections are different. Party workers are needed to go door-to-door to convince people. The people do not have the choice but to see at least 10 people show up on your door," Reddy pointed out.

Conducting the local body elections in haste is like forcing an election amid an ongoing crisis. Taking an example of Bengaluru, which doesn't have BBMP, Reddy questioned what difference does it make if Kodagu or Bidar or Ramnagar do not have elections for some more time.

Put politics aside, protect lives; K'taka AAP

Reddy also submitted letters to the State Election Commissioner of Karnataka and Chief Election Commissioner of India to postpone the said elections in the state in view of the prevailing COVID situation. In the letter to the state SEC in view of the elections for 10 local bodies to be held next week, Reddy said, "it is now the responsibility of each one of us to put politics aside and protect lives. Aam Aadmi Party, Karnataka, therefore appeals to you to postpone local body elections in the state until the station improves."

Ktaka AAP letter to EC

There's is no word from the Karnataka EC on the decision to postpone the urban local body elections. This article will be duly updated with SEC remarks.