In a significant move, amid rising COVID19 cases, the Maharashtra Legislature Returning Officer (RO) on Monday has sought the opinion of the Election Commission on new modalities or SOP, if any, on the polling day on June 10 to avoid the spread of infection. RO’s communication is important as 288 legislators will be present in the state legislature on the polling day and it should not become a super spreader.
Further, RO’s move is timely as the authorised representative of an individual party remains in the polling station as the legislator has to show the slip before casting the vote.
A senior officer from the state legislature told the Free Press Journal, ‘’ Today’s communication to the Election Commission is to understand whether there is any new SOP suggesting dos and don’ts on polling day in the wake of a surge in COVID 19 cases. The aim is to avoid virus spread.’’ He said that the COVID 19 infected legislators cannot cast their vote through postal ballot and in that case he or they will not be able to participate in polling.
The officer said the Election Commission during Lok Sabha elections had allowed the COVID 19 infected voters to cast their votes in the last hour by wearing PPE kits. ‘’However, we don’t know whether it is permissible during the polling for Rajya Sabha on June 10,’’ he noted.
Already BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis tested positive while social justice Dhananjay Munde on Monday cancelled his programmes due to high temperature.
Meanwhile, the RO today released three-page guidelines on dos and don’ts while casting votes on June 10.