Delhi, Aug. 21: The Election Commission of India (EC) on August 21 issued guidelines for the conduct of general elections/by-elections during the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. The poll body said that candidates can file their nominations online. While the candidate can deposit security money through online mode at the designated platform, he/she will continue to have the option of depositing in cash in the treasury. Candidates will have to carry out door-to-door campaigning with only five people while the convoy of vehicles will have to be broken after every five vehicles during road-shows.
“Thermal scanning of all persons shall be carried out; sanitizer, soap and water shall be made available at the entry of hall/room/premises used for election purposes,” EC said.
The number of voters per polling booth shall be limited to a thousand rather than 1500. Face mask, sanitiser, thermal scanners, gloves, face shield and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms. Thermal screening of all persons shall be carried out and sanitizer and soap and water shall be made available.
During the process of identification at the time of voting, the voters will be required to lower the facemask for identification, when necessary. Covid 19 patients who are quarantined will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective polling stations under the supervision of health authorities. For voters residing in containment zones, guidelines will be issued separately.
Postal ballot will be extended to voters with disabilities, those who are over 80 years of age, people employed in essential services, as also those who are Covid 19 positive or suspected to be suffering from the viral ailment and in quarantine
Polls are due in the months of October-November in Bihar, which has, till date, witnessed 1.15 lakh Covid 19 cases, including 574 fatalities. While the poll body has not made any official announcement regarding the poll schedule, several parties, including the ruling Janata Dal (United) ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has written in past to EC expressing concerns regarding the conduct of elections in the midst of a pandemic.