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EC seeks suggestion from political parties over election campaigning amid Covid-19 pandemic

The EC has asked for suggestions by July 31 so as to form necessary guidelines for the election campaign by the candidates or political parties. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2020 10:36:32 pm
EC announces elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats across 17 states on March 26 The EC has asked for suggestions by July 31 so as to form necessary guidelines for the election campaign

The Election Commission (EC) Friday sought views of national and state political parties on campaigning for upcoming elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You’re aware that some by-elections and Assembly elections in Bihar are due in 2020. The commission has decided to seek the views of political parties regarding the above subject,” the poll body said in a statement.

The EC has asked for suggestions by July 31 so as to form necessary guidelines for the election campaign by the candidates or political parties.

The move comes hours after the Bihar opposition parties wrote to EC asking it to ensure that campaigning and voting exercise don’t become a “super spreader event” of coronavirus.

The EC’s letter seeking suggestions.

The parties including Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Hindustani Awam Morcha, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, and Loktantrik Janata Dal submitted a memorandum to the poll panel drawing its attention to the coronavirus situation in the state.

Wondering if the poll panel will ensure physical distancing of at least two yards in a state with a population of around 13 crore and electorate of 7.5 crore, the parties sought “explicit clarity so that wholesome participation of majority of voters is not adversely impacted”.

On Thursday, the EC had decided against extending the postal ballot facility to voters above 65 years in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, citing logistical challenges. The facility, however, will be available to senior citizens above the age of 80, those physically challenged as well as to Covid-19 patients.

For the Bihar elections, the EC has also limited the number of electors to 1,000 for each polling station for “ease of voting”. To implement this, the EC would need to create an additional 34,000 polling stations.

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