BHOPAL: Importance of large spaces and big halls has gained significance during by-elections that are to be held in 28 assembly constituencies during Covid pandemic. The guidelines released by Election Commission focuses on use of large halls and spaces for training, distribution of election material and other similar activities.
Commission guidelines say that large sized halls should be arranged for training of election officials. Though a large part of training material has also been designed online, several activities require physical presence.
Election material kit is distributed before the polling day. Election Commission says election material kit will be prepared in a spacious and sufficiently large hall following all safety, sanitation and social distancing measures. Similarly, large halls should be identified for distribution and collection of election material.
To ensure Covid safety protocol, guidelines stress on giving staggered time to polling teams for distribution and collection of election material. Moreover, timing for third randomisation of polling staff has been increased from 24 hours to 72 hours in order to avoid large gathering of polling staff at dispatch centres.
Commission guidelines say that returning officer’s chamber should have sufficient space to perform functions of nomination, scrutiny and symbol allocation following social distancing norms. Number of persons to accompany candidate for submission of nomination has been restricted to two. It also insists that large space should be arranged where candidates can wait during electoral process. All steps required to be taken for the submission of nomination form and affidavit will continue to operate as per the provisions contained in the Representation of the People Act.
To ensure compliance of Covid 19 guidelines, Commission has asked authorities to arrange for adequate number of vehicles for mobilisation of polling and security personnel. Social distancing norms are to be adhered to in transport meant for polling teams.