Chandigarh, October 9

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ECI has issued comprehensive guidelines pertaining to key activities for the safe conduct of elections.

Spokesperson of the ECI said that commission has decided to give consent to organize rallies and Door to Door campaign with rider. He said that disposable gloves shall be made available to each official handling EVM/VVPAT and for every voter. Spokesperson said that thermal checking of voters at entry point of polling station location/Polling station, either by polling staff or Para Medical staff made necessary. He said that Bihar will become the first state, which will go through the poll process during the perilous times. These instructions should be adhered to letter and spirit in Bihar and other states where bye elections would be held in near future.

Divulging further, spokesperson informed that sanitizer, soap and water shall be made available in polling stations and the sanitization of polling stations made mandatory. He said that social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant COVID-19 guidelines of the State Government and Ministry of Home Affairs.

Official Spokesperson apprised that an intending candidate may fill in it online and its print may be taken for submitting before the Returning Officer. Commission has directed further number of vehicles for the purposes of nomination is restricted to two. Commission has directed that there shall be maximum 1000 electors instead of 1500 electors in a polling station.

Commission has made sanitization of Polling Station, preferably, a day before the poll mandatory. If temperature is above the set norms of MoHFW at first reading during thermal scanning, then it will be checked twice and if it remains, then the elector shall be provided with token/certificate and will be asked to come for voting at the last hour of poll. At the last hour of poll, such electors shall be facilitated voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures. Help Desk for distribution of token to the voters of first come first basis so that they do not wait in the queue. Marker to demonstrate social distancing for queue also maintained compulsory. 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.

He said that guidelines shall be issued separately for those voters who are residing in the area notified as containment zone. Option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the PwD electors, Electors above the age of 80 years, employees of notified Essential services, COVID- 19 positive/suspect and in quarantine electors.

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