Ahead of the first assembly polls and by-polls since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday evening published the guidelines for the conduct of elections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bihar is scheduled to have its assembly elections tentatively in October.
Candidates can file their nominations online and people have to wear face masks during election-related activities, the new guidelines said.
The ECI guidelines said large public spaces should be arranged for poll-related activities, while restrictions will be placed on the number of people during the nomination process and at poll campaigns. The EC is also considering more digital interventions to minimize physical interaction for the nomination process.
The option of postal ballot facility has been extended to the voters who are marked as ‘persons with disabilities’. People, who are above the age of 80 years, people employed in notified essential services and those who have tested Covid-19 positive or are possibly infected can all vote through the postal ballot facility, the Election Commission said. However, guidelines for each of the categories of people who are eligible for the postal ballot will be issued separately.
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It also said thermal scanning of all voters will be carried out at the premises where the polls will be held. Sanitizers, soap, and water would be made available to all voters, according to the new rules.
Social distancing will mandatorily have to be followed in keeping with the guidelines issued earlier by the Ministry of Home Affairs. To ensure social distancing, it said only five people at a time will be allowed on door-to-door campaigns, while road shows and public meetings must be held with due social distancing norms, and in accordance with the guidelines