Bihar to have rallies with distancing norms


New Delhi: Political parties and candidates can hold rallies as part of their campaigning for the Bihar assembly polls and the grounds where such meetings will be held will have white circles to ensure distancing norms.

Addressing a press conference to announce the schedule for Bihar assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said he wants to dispel doubts that there will only be virtual campaigning in the state. The “propganda” that only virtual meets will take place during campaigning is way off the mark, he said.

Arora said the district election officers have already identified places where gatherings can take place. The exercise of putting markers to ensure distancing norms is on.

District election officers and district superintendents of police should ensure that the number of attendees does not exceed the limit prescribed by the State Disaster Management Authority for public gatherings, an EC statement later said.

DEOs will depute sector health regulators to oversee that COVID-19 instructions are being followed during such meetings.

Political parties and candidates concerned should ensure that all COVID-related requirements such as face masks, sanitisers and thermal scanning are fulfilled during each of these election activities, the commission said.

Anyone violating the norms will face action under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code, the EC warned.

As part of restrictions put in place to check the spread of the virus, the EC has reduced the number of people who can under take door-to-door campaigning.

A group of five people, including candidates, but excluding security personnel, is allowed to campaign from door to door.

For road shows, the convoy of vehicles should be broken after every five vehicles instead of 10 vehicles.

The interval between two sets of convoy of vehicles should be half an hour instead of a gap of 100 metres.

The EC has revised the norms of the number of people accompanying the candidate and number of vehicles at the time of nomination.

It has also created an optional facility to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking a print, before the returning officer concerned.

For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit the security amount for contesting the elections online.