Lucknow: Releasing its guidelines for the three-tier Panchayat polls amid surge in covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, the State Election Commission has allowed coronavirus infected candidates to contest elections and infected voters to cast their votes after strictly following the commission’s SoPs.
The second wave of coronavirus in the state has cast its shadow on the Panchayat polls in the state, scheduled to be held in April-May. The Additional State Election Commissioner Ved Prakash Verma on Monday issued Covid-19 guidelines for holding the three-tier rural polls.
However, asymptomatic and infected government employees will not be allowed to perform poll duties. The commission has directed the state government to keep extra manpower for poll duties.
Issuing Standard operating Procedures (SoPs), coronavirus infected candidates have been allowed to contest polls, if they follow the protocol. Similarly, corona-19 infected voters have also been allowed to cast their votes.
It will be mandatory for the polling agents to wear PPE kits, gloves, masks, shields etc while allowing them to cast their votes during the last hour of polling after informing the sector magistrate.
Candidates are allowed to take only five of their supporters for campaigning. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is a must for everyone. The commission has directed the state government to appoint one Nodal Health officer who will ensure sanitization of all polling booths, make available sanitizers and soaps etc.
It has been made mandatory for all employees engaged in poll duties to download Arogya Setu app and wear gloves in addition to masks. No one will be allowed inside the booth without sanitizing hands and thermal scanning.
Only one person along with the candidate has been allowed to enter the office of the returning officer for filing nominations and withdrawal of papers. Mass gatherings, processions have been banned during campaigning and will be allowed only after permission from the district administration.
"Action will be initiated under the IPC and Commission Rules if anyone was found violating guidelines and SoPs," warned Varma.