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EC issues guidelines for conduct of elections amid COVID-19 pandemic

The number of persons who will accompany candidates for the filing of nomination papers has been restricted to two.

August 22, 2020 / 08:33 AM IST

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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. 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 roadshows.

"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.

"As far as practicable, large halls should be identified and utilised to ensure social distancing norms," it said, adding that gloves should be made available for each official handling electronic voting machine (EVMs)/voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT).

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The number of persons who will accompany candidates for the filing of nomination papers has been restricted to two. Moreover, the poll body said that sufficient number of poll-related staff should be kept in reserve as replacements in case any official displays symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

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, the EC said.

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.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a formidable form. Experts believe by October-November, its effect in Bihar will be worse. At this time, our priority should be to save people's lives, not to conduct elections...A big chunk of Bihar is hit by floods. Conducting elections as per the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) guidelines will be extremely difficult," LJP chief Chirag Paswan had said in a letter to EC. 
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first published: Aug 21, 2020 05:49 pm
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