Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Election Commission to announce dates at 12.30pm
The assembly is slated to lapse in November this year. Many political parties had asked the Commission to defer the elections in the wake of the pandemicUpdated: Sep 25, 2020, 12:05 IST
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is set to announce the dates for the Bihar assembly elections, the first to be conducted since the Covid-19 outbreak, on Friday.
The assembly’s term is slated to end in November this year. Many political parties had asked the Commission to defer the elections in the wake of the pandemic.
The ECI, however, has issued a set of strict guidelines for the polls. From capping the number of people involved in door-to-door campaigning to allowing the submission of nomination forms online and providing voters with gloves before they use electronic voting machines (EVMs) — the commission, last month, released a set of guidelines for holding elections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While standard safety measures such as social distancing and wearing of masks will be followed, ECI also said those with high temperature will have to vote in the last one hour of the polling process and that there will be fewer voters at a booth.
“Gloves shall be provided to all electors for signing on the voter register and pressing the button on an EVM for voting,” ECI said, adding that face masks, sanitiser, thermal scanners, gloves, face shields and personal protective equipment kits “shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms”.
Also, the number of tables in a counting hall has been slashed by half — from 14 to seven. The commission also said a maximum of 1,000 people will be allowed to cast their votes at a polling station, a significant reduction from the earlier figure of 1,500.
At polling booths, electors will stand six feet apart, in line with health ministry guidelines.
Covid-19 patients, those in quarantine and those with temperature higher than normal will be made to wait and vote in the last one hour, in keeping with safety norms prescribed by the health ministry.
Face masks will be provided those not carrying one. During the identification process, voters will be required to lower their masks, the document said. Nomination forms will be available online on the website of the chief electoral officer and district election officer. The number of persons to accompany a candidate for submission of nomination has been restricted to two. The number of vehicles for the purpose is also restricted to two.
While elections have taken place in other countries since the pandemic, elections in India have only been confined to polls to the Rajya Sabha and legislative council seats, which involve a limited set of voters. Experts believe that the election guidelines adopted for Bihar will have significant implications for political contests.