New Delhi: In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to conduct impending Bihar assembly polls with certain protocols such as using PPE kits, conducting thermal scanning, maintaining social distancing, limiting the number of electors in each booth and also increasing the number of polling stations.
The state government is also creating an additional 34,000 polling stations which is 45 per cent more than the usual, taking the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000.
ECI in its proposed do’s and dont’s list has asked voters to ensure the compulsory wearing of face mask while attending large gatherings.
Restrictions have been imposed on large public gatherings which include “places of worship”.
Toothpicks and gloves will be used by voters while operating Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).
It is to be noted that ECI has sought suggestions from national and state political parties in regard to the election campaign and public meetings.
In a press release, it has been stated that after receiving the suggestions, “necessary guidelines may be firmed up for the election campaign by the candidates or political parties for conduction of election during the pandemic period.” The last date for sharing suggestions is July 31.
The Election Commission has already put a limit to the number of electors to 1,000 for each polling station in the unprecedented situation.
The ECI has already decided that postal ballot facility will not be extended to electors above 65 years of age in Bihar Assembly poll following logistical and manpower constraints. The facility, however, will also be extended to voters above 80 years of age, PwD voters and electors engaged in essential services.
Earlier a memorandum was submitted to ECI by nine opposition parties demanding normal mode of campaigning against virtual campaigning.
Bihar’s by-election in 1 Valmiki Nagar PC that created vacancy following the death of sitting MP Baidyanath Prasad Mahto is also pending.
The last date of filling the vacancy is August 28. (ANI)