Poll Panel Seeks Parties' Suggestions During COVID-19

By Amogh Sahasrabhojanee

New Delhi:

The Election Commission (EC) on Friday wrote to all national and regional political parties seeking their "views and suggestions" on conduct of election campaign during upcoming polls in the country as the COVID-19 pandemic is still active.

In its one-page letter, the poll body sought their replies by July 31 and said that bypolls in some states and the Bihar assembly elections are due this year.

The EC, while referring to the "current situation of COVID-19 in the country", said several guidelines have been issued by the Centre and state governments under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other some other laws to ensure safety and contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

"Some of the precautionary measures prescribed include compulsory wearing of face mask in public places, social distance, maintaining a prescribed minimum social distance in public places including restrictions on large public gatherings/congregations, thermal scanning at the place of gathering, sanitisation etc," the EC said.

Keeping these issues in mind, the EC asked the parties to send their "views and suggestions latest by July 31, 2020 so that necessary guidelines may be firmed up for the election campaign by candidates or political parties for the conduct of election during pandemic period."

Several opposition parties of Bihar on Friday urged the EC to assure voters that the upcoming assembly polls do not become a "super spreader event" owing to the COVID-19 infection and urged the poll body to restrict the number of voters per polling station to 250 to ensure physical distancing.