Lucknow: After being rapped by the Allahabad High Court, the State Election Commission (SEC) has made it mandatory for candidates / their representatives to carry RT-PCR negative report, no older than 48 hours, for entry to counting centres and put a blanket ban on victory processions post results.
“No gatherings, in any form, will be allowed at the counting centres and no victory procession shall be allowed after results. Action will be initiated against erring candidates and their supporters under the Epidemic Act, 2020,” said the commission in a statement.
The counting of the three-tier Panchayat polls is scheduled to be held on May 2 amid tight security arrangements. The state government employees have threatened to go on strike if the counting was not postponed.
Uttar Pradesh Shikshak Mahasangh has also warned to boycott duties at counting centres if counting for panchayat polls was not deferred. The union claimed that over 750 teachers, who were on poll duties, have died so far while over 1000 others returned infected.
The SEC took some tough measures after the Allahabad High Court pulled the commission for its failure of enforcing Covid-19 protocol and guidelines during the four-phase panchayat polls resulting in the death of 135 teachers on poll duties.
Since the counting day is coinciding with complete lockdown on Sunday (May 2) but still the commission has asked the district and police administration to ensure that supporters are not allowed to gather outside counting centres.
It has asked candidates to send a list of their representatives by Friday who will be allowed to enter the counting centres after verification.
Entry at the counting centres will be given only to authorised persons wearing masks after thermal scanning. Norm of social distancing is being followed in arranging tables for counting of votes inside properly sanitized counting centres.