With Covid-19 cases surging and the Bihar Assembly polls due later this year, the state poll panel has said it is going ahead with the preparations assuming that the election will be held as per schedule and any decision on the time of holding the polls will be taken by the Election Commission of India (EC).
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) H R Srinivas told The Indian Express, “Our job is to prepare for elections assuming they would be held in time. The final decision rests with the Election Commission of India… As a first big step, we have created 33,797 auxiliary polling booths besides the existing 72,723 polling booths to maintain social distancing. The auxiliary booths have been created where there are over 1,000 voters.”
He said training of 90 returning officers was under way. “Here again, we are maintaining social distancing for the returning officers. Adhiveshan Bhavan in Patna can accommodate all the 243 returning officers, but we are adhering to Covid protocols of the Central and state government.”
Asked about people’s apprehensions about touching EVMs, the CEO said it would be ensured that their concerns are addressed and less human interaction takes place. Asked about the suggestions received from political parties, Srinivas said, “There are three types of campaigning suggestions — some parties want the conventional campaigns, some want a mix of both and some only virtual campaigns. The EC has to take a final call.”
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