Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar
Photo: ANI

Even as the Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown and other restrictions to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases, the by-election to Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly constituency will be held as per its schedule later this month, state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said. The bypoll, necessitated by NCP MLA Bharat Bhalke's death last year, is scheduled to be held on April 17, which is a Saturday.

On Sunday evening, the state government said that lockdown will come into effect from 8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday. Apart from that, strict restrictions will be in place from Monday 8 pm onwards.

Talking to reporters here, Pawar said after the state cabinet meeting, "As COVID-19 cases are rising in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to impose strict restrictions. I know that people don't like curfew. But we have to take hard decisions to stop the spread of the virus." "The elections conducted by the state government authorities can be deferred.

But the Pandharpur by-election schedule was announced by the Election Commission earlier. So it will be held as per its schedule," he added.

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