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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Assembly polls amidst Covid-19 third wave: EC bars roadshows, physical rallies till Jan 15

🔴 Maximum of five persons to be allowed for door-to-door election campaign by candidates

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 11, 2022 7:37:20 pm
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with ECI officials at a press conference. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

With India witnessing the third wave of Covid-19 — recording over 1 lakh daily cases for the last two days — mostly driven by the Omicron variant, the Election Commission Saturday issued guidelines for the conduct of Assembly elections in five states. While UP will go to polls in seven phases from February 10 to March 7, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will vote in a single phase on February 14. Manipur, on the other hand, will vote in two phases on Feb 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.

Along with the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), Covid-19 protocols to be followed at polling booths were also announced. The Election Commission of India has banned physical political rallies and roadshows till January 15. In view of the pandemic, the number of electors at a polling station has been reduced to 1,250 from 1,500 thereby, increasing the number of election booths. Furthermore, polling time has been increased by an hour.

Schedule of Assembly Elections 2022

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra stressed that strict action will be taken against those violating Covid-19 guidelines, including restrictions on physical events.

The model code of conduct, which is a set of guidelines issued by the the poll body for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions and general conduct, will come into effect from today.

The Election Commission had already asked the chief secretaries of five poll-bound states to “accelerate” the pace of Covid-19 vaccination. It has expressed concerns over the low percentage of first dose coverage in Manipur.

Assembly Election 2022 |Poll dates for 5 states out

On a question if the EC would consider postponing the elections, the poll panel’s chief Sushil Chandra had said, “EC will execute the responsibility assigned to it as per the Constitution. While executing that responsibility, whatever will be required to consider—either rising Covid numbers or managing the increasing rallies—elections will be announced after taking that into consideration.”

It added that all parties in Uttar Pradesh want the Assembly elections to be held as per schedule. “All the political parties, without any difference of opinion, said that elections should be conducted on time while following Covid protocol,” the EC had said.

General guidelines to be followed during the entire election process for all persons:

🔴 Roadshows, physical rallies banned till January 15

🔴 Maximum of five persons to be allowed for door-to-door election campaign by candidates

🔴 Political parties and candidates advised to conduct campaigns as much as possible through digital/virtual/ media platforms /mobile based mode

🔴 No victory procession to be allowed post-results

🔴 Maximum number of star campaigners for recognized national/state political parties fixed at 30, for unrecognized political parties 15

🔴 All officials on election duty shall be doubly vaccinated

🔴 Every person shall wear face mask during every election related activity.

🔴 At the entry of hall/ room/ premises used for election purposes: (a) Thermal Scanning of all persons shall be carried out; (b) Sanitizer, soap and water shall be made available. 3) Social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant Covid-19 guidelines of the State Govt. and Ministry of Home Affairs.

🔴 As far as practicable, large halls should be identified and utilized to ensure social distancing norms.

🔴 Adequate number of vehicles shall be mobilized for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of Covid-19 guidelines.

🔴 Nodal Health Officer shall be designated for the State, the District and the Assembly Constituency to oversee Covid-19 related arrangements and, preventive measures during entire electoral process.

🔴 EVMs/VVPATs a) First & Second randomization and preparation of EVMs/VVPATs shall be done in large halls. b) Sanitizers shall be provided in sufficient quantity for use during the process. c) Gloves shall be made available to each official handling EVM/VVPAT.

🔴 As far as practicable, training of election officials will be organized in decentralized manner at large halls.

🔴 Training for election officials may be organized through online mode.

🔴 Nomination form will also be available online on the website of CEO/DEO. An intending candidate may fill in it online and its print may be taken for submitting before the Returning Officer as specified in Form-1 (Rule-3 of Conduct of Election Rules 1961).

🔴 Affidavit may also be filled in online on the website of CEO/DEO and its print can be taken and after notarization it may be submitted along with the nomination form before the Returning Officer

🔴 Election Material Kit will be prepared in a spacious and sufficiently large hall following all safety, sanitation and social distancing measures.

🔴 Soap and Water shall be provided at the entry/exit point of every polling station.

🔴 Sanitizer should be provided at the entry/exit point of every polling station.

🔴 Face masks in reserves for those electors who are not carrying the mask will be kept.

🔴 Awareness posters on Covid-19 should be displayed at visible locations.

🔴 Circle earmarked for 15-20 persons of 2 yards (6 feet) distance for voters standing in the queue. There shall be three queues each, for male, female, and PwD/ Senior citizen voters.

🔴 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, strictly following Covid-19 related preventive measures. Sector Magistrates shall coordinate this in their allocated polling stations.

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