HT Image
HT Image

After Bihar, upcoming elections in Bengal, TN will be held on schedule: Sushil Chandra

UPDATED ON NOV 09, 2020 05:56 AM IST

The biggest takeaway from the successful conduct of the Bihar polls is that the upcoming assembly elections can be held on schedule even if a Covid-19 vaccine is not developed in the near future, said Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra. In an interview to Deeksha Bhardwaj, Chandra, who is slated to take over as chief election commissioner next year, elaborates on the precautions taken for the first elections since the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure electoral participation.

The Bihar election was the first major poll to be held during the pandemic, how was the voter turnout?

We ensured that global guidelines for social distancing and sanitisation were unanimously followed. This, in turn, helped us achieve the safety of each voter against Covid-19. Nearly 57.92 per cent voters turned out for the third phase, more than the turnout in 2015, which was 56.66 per cent. Overall, we have seen an increase in electoral participation as compared to the last election, which is very heartening amid a pandemic.

What challenges did you face during the election?

The biggest challenge, of course, was getting voters to comply with Covid-19 guidelines like social distancing and sanitisation. Safety of voters was another big challenge. Everyone assumed that the voter turnout would decrease because of the pandemic, but with the continuous efforts of SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program is a voter-awareness program of the EC) and other initiatives undertaken by the Commission, we were able to encourage the voters to feel safe during the pandemic.

How were the elections amid pandemic different?

More CAPF personnel than usual were deployed for the Bihar polls. This ensured that there was not even a single case of booth capturing. In terms of expenditure related seizures, items worth of Rs. 66.41 crore were seized. These included alcohol, narcotic substances, cash and freebies. This is exponentially more than the Rs 28.82 crore-worth seizure during the 2015 assembly election and the Rs 8.1 crore-worth seizure during the 2019 Lok Sabha election in the state.

What are the major take-aways from the Bihar polls?

The biggest take-away has to be that even if a vaccine for Covid-19 is not developed soon, future elections in the country will be held on schedule. If the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, we will all be very happy. In case it doesn’t, guidelines similar to those put in place for Bihar will have to be observed for other upcoming elections — including those in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry. It’s been a very peaceful and safe election in Bihar and that gives us immense hope.

The ECI assigned a specific Covid-hour for people who had tested positive for the infection, those under quarantine and those with high temperatures. What was the impact?

Over 240 Covid-19 positive patients chose to exercise their franchise and cast their ballot over the three phases. None of them used the postal ballots that were provided to them and cast their votes in person at the polling booths. Additionally, during this one hour, all polling officials were clad in PPE kits.

Was the election inclusive in terms of participation from all sections?

The election was an especially inclusive one with the commission setting up at least two polling stations in every assembly constituency that were run only by women. Additional arrangements were made for Covid-19 patients, senior citizens and people with disabilities. The commission also conducted an international webinar with participation from nearly 30-40 countries to showcase the arrangements it had made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who holds the forest portfolio, has said that the projects were being implemented by following “the complete procedure as prescribed by the MoEF&CC while obtaining the forest clearance and wildlife clearance.” (HT Photo)
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who holds the forest portfolio, has said that the projects were being implemented by following “the complete procedure as prescribed by the MoEF&CC while obtaining the forest clearance and wildlife clearance.” (HT Photo)

No need to assess Mollem projects’ cumulative impact: Goa minister

By Gerard de Souza
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:55 PM IST
In a letter to the Central Empowered Committee, the expert members of the Wildlife Board said the clearances to the projects were granted without studying their cumulative impact
Close
The leopard was declared a man-eater on January 1(Representational Photo)
The leopard was declared a man-eater on January 1(Representational Photo)

Man-eater leopard that attacked 4 people shot dead in Uttarakhand’s Almora

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:45 PM IST
  • The leopard had killed a woman and inured three others before the forest department declared it a man-eater.
Close
IRCTC has announced that passengers will be thermally screened before entering the coach and not allowed to exchange their seats once seated(PTI)
IRCTC has announced that passengers will be thermally screened before entering the coach and not allowed to exchange their seats once seated(PTI)

IRCTC to resume services for Tejas trains from February 14

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:44 PM IST
  • The two Tejas Express services are the first set of trains run by IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways. They stopped operating in March last year due to the pandemic. IRCTC resumed services in October, but operations were stopped a month later due to low occupancy.
Close
Uttarakhand Police personnel deployed in US Nagar district(HT PHOTO)
Uttarakhand Police personnel deployed in US Nagar district(HT PHOTO)

Uttarakhand police on alert in 4 districts after violence in Delhi tractor rally

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:17 PM IST
  • The police headquarters has asked the US Nagar district police to maintain extra vigil as it is the most affected district in the state by the farmers’ agitation.
Close
Sameer Desai being welcomed into Shiv Sena by Uddhav Thackeray (Photo@ShivSena)
Sameer Desai being welcomed into Shiv Sena by Uddhav Thackeray (Photo@ShivSena)

Sameer Desai quits BJP, joins Shiv Sena

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:15 PM IST
A two-term Congress corporator, Sameer Desai has also been the spokesperson of Mumbai Congress.
Close
The nishan sahib transformed into the symbol of sikh sovereignty and identity.(AP)
The nishan sahib transformed into the symbol of sikh sovereignty and identity.(AP)

All you need to know about Nishan Sahib, the flag hoisted by farmers on Red Fort

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:20 PM IST
Actor Deep Sidhu has been accused of instigating the farmers for the deviation in the route as well as for hoisting the flag.
Close
Heavy security personnel deployed at Red Fort in New Delhi on Wednesday. A group of protestors climbed to the ramparts of the fort and unfurled flags on the 26th of January. (ANI)
Heavy security personnel deployed at Red Fort in New Delhi on Wednesday. A group of protestors climbed to the ramparts of the fort and unfurled flags on the 26th of January. (ANI)

Red Fort breach: Minister Prahlad Patel says report to be sent to MHA

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:24 PM IST
A tractor parade on Tuesday descended into anarchy as tens of thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.
Close
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari hadchallenged the summons issued to him in a criminal defamation case filed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.(Amal KS/HT File PHOTO)
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari hadchallenged the summons issued to him in a criminal defamation case filed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.(Amal KS/HT File PHOTO)

Supreme Court stays defamation proceeding against BJP leader Manoj Tiwari

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:48 PM IST
The case pertains to a complaint Sisodia brought against Tiwari and BJP leader Vijender Gupta in which Sisodia said the two leaders have levelled corruption charges against him.
Close
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala addresses farmers during their protest against the new farm laws, at National Highway 48, near Rajiv Chowk, in Gurugram on Tuesday. (ANI PHOTO)
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala addresses farmers during their protest against the new farm laws, at National Highway 48, near Rajiv Chowk, in Gurugram on Tuesday. (ANI PHOTO)

INLD legislator Abhay Singh Chautala resigns over farm laws, Speaker accepts

By hindustantimes.com, HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:25 PM IST
The Haryana MLA has staunchly backed farmers in their protest as he also carried out a tractor rally from Punjab's Ambala earlier this month.
Close
BJP spokesperson Azfar Shamshi(Photo@Azfarshamshi)
BJP spokesperson Azfar Shamshi(Photo@Azfarshamshi)

Bihar BJP spokesperson shot at in Munger; 1 arrested

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:40 PM IST
The police said that Azfar Shamshi was fired upon by 2-3 men while he was on way to college from his residence.
Close
Farmers reach Red fort during their tractor rally on Republic Day, in Delhi . (ANI)
Farmers reach Red fort during their tractor rally on Republic Day, in Delhi . (ANI)

‘Dirty conspiracy’: Farmers’ leaders accuse Centre of ‘sabotaging’ peaceful stir

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Karan Manral
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:40 PM IST
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Wednesday said the government was ‘shaken up’ by their agitation and hence ‘hatched a conspiracy’ with the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.
Close
Gurnam Singh Charuni. (Facebook)
Gurnam Singh Charuni. (Facebook)

Gurnam Charuni: The firebrand behind the farmers’ protests

By Zia Haq
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:19 PM IST
Charuni, the leader of the Haryana unit of Bharatiya Kisan Union, organised one of the first meetings in September in Haryana’s Pipli village to protest against the three laws
Close
A view of Supreme Court. (HT Photo)
A view of Supreme Court. (HT Photo)

Supreme Court refuses protection to makers of web series Tandav

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:23 PM IST
The bench observed, “Your right to freedom of speech is not absolute. You cannot play the role of a character that hurts the sentiments of a community.”
Close
The UAE registered the Sinopharm vaccine after finding it had a 86% efficacy rate, paving the way for a full public use and allowing for a re-opening of the Gulf nation’s economy.(REUTERS (Representative Image))
The UAE registered the Sinopharm vaccine after finding it had a 86% efficacy rate, paving the way for a full public use and allowing for a re-opening of the Gulf nation’s economy.(REUTERS (Representative Image))

AP dentist falls ill after Covid-19 vaccination; not due to jab, says official

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 02:59 PM IST
P Ratnavali, district medical and health officer (DMHO) of Prakasam, said the dentist Dhana Lakshimi was having infection in urinary tract and liver while taking the vaccine shot on December 23 at the government general hospital here.
Close
Tandav web show stars Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia in prominent roles.
Tandav web show stars Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia in prominent roles.

'Freedom of speech not absolute': SC tells makers of web series 'Tandav'

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 03:06 PM IST
The web series is facing criminal cases for hurting religious sentiments and insulting religion punishable under Sections 153A and 295 of Indian Penal Code.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP