Election Commission of India approved the broad guidelines for the conduct of general/bye-elections during COVID-19 period.
August 21, 2020, New Delhi: After the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in India, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) have been issuing guidelines from time to time. In their latest circular dated 29th July 2020, MHA has issued comprehensive guidelines/directives to be followed countywide. Similarly, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has also issued SOP on disinfection, sanitization, and prevention for containing COVID-19.
Earlier, Commission, on 17th July 2020, had sought views/suggestions of National/State Political Parties till 31st July 2020 and had further extended the period till 11th August 2020 on request of the Political parties. Commission has considered the views/suggestions received from various Political Parties and Chief Electoral Officers of States/UTs on the election campaign and public meetings.
Salient features of the guidelines include the following:
The Commission has revised the norms of a number of persons 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 the print, before the RO concerned. For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit security amount for contesting the elections online. Keeping the containment guidelines in view, the Commission has limited the number of persons including a candidate for the door to door campaign to five. Public meeting and roadshows shall be permissible with suitable instructions subject to containment instructions issued by the MHA/State. Face Mask, Sanitizer, Thermal scanners, gloves, face shield and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms. Hand gloves shall be provided to all the electors for signing on the voter register and pressing the button of EVM for voting.
The Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs shall make comprehensive State/District & AC election plans regarding the arrangement and preventive measures following these guidelines taking local conditions into account. These plans will be prepared in consultation with Nodal Officer for COVID-19 in their respective States/UTs.