New Delhi: Election Commission of India approved the broad guidelines for conduct of general/bye elections during COVID-19 period. These are available at https://eci.gov.in/files/file/12167-guidelines-for-conduct-of-general-electionbye-election-during-covid-19/
After 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 29thJuly, 2020, MHA has issued comprehensive guidelines/directives to be followed countywide. Similarly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has also issued SOP on disinfection, sanitization, and prevention for containing COVID-19.
Earlier, Commission, on 17thJuly, 2020, had sought views/suggestions of National/State Political Parties till 31stJuly, 2020, and had further extended the period till 11thAugust, 2020 on request of the Political parties. Commission hasconsidered the views/suggestions received from various Political Parties and Chief Electoral Officers of States/UTs on election campaign and public meetings.
Salient features of the guidelines include the following:
The Commission has revised the norms of number of persons accompanying the candidate and number of vehicles at the time of nomination. It has also created optional facility to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking 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 candidate for door to door campaign to five. Public meeting and road shows 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 button of EVM for voting.
The Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs, shall make comprehensive State/District & AC election plans regarding arrangement and preventive measuresfollowing 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.