April 2, 2021 3:08:46 am
Amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the State Election Commission has decided to adopt several measures during the three-tier panchayat elections, set to begin in two weeks’ time. Among them are extending the polling time by one hour and making special provisions for Covid-infected people to cast their vote.
“The polling time, which is usually from 7 am to 5 pm, has been extended till 6 pm. Apart from maintaining social distancing and following other Covid protocols, it has been decided to give opportunity to Covid-positive voters to exercise their franchise,” a senior official said.
According to the official, the state poll body has adopted most of the rules announced by the Election Commission of India for the Bihar Assembly polls held during the pandemic last year and those adopted for the current round of Assembly polls in the country.
“We have made some modifications in those rules. We have decided to reserve the last half-an-hour of polling for Covid patients. We have got a list of Covid-positive patients that will be reviewed a day before the polling, and accordingly, their booth will be alerted and PPP kits will be arranged for the polling and security officials deployed there,” the official said.
Considering the recent surge in Covid cases, the State Election Commission has also directed the administration to not allow big rallies or public gathering, and restrict the movement of vehicles.
The panchayat polls will be held in four phases – April 15, April 19, April 26, April 29 – with the counting scheduled for May 2. Over 2 lakh booths will be set up across the state for the elections.
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