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State Assembly elections to be held under strict COVID protocols – details inside

Door-to-door campaigning to be restricted to five persons including the candidate, polling officials to be vaccinated are among some of the guidelines

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Updated: Feb 26, 2021, 06:56 PM IST

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday (February 26) announced the election dates for the four poll-bound states – West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and one Union Territory of Puducherry.  He said that the Bihar Assembly polls held last year in November amid the COVID-19 pandemic was a watershed moment and proved to be a litmus test for the Election Commission of India (ECI). 

Addressing media persons Arora said, “In the thick of the pandemic, ECI started test trials with elections of 18 seats to Rajya Sabha. After that, came the challenge of the Bihar elections, it was indeed a watershed moment for ECI. It proved to be a litmus test. Voting turnout was 57.34 per cent exceeding the 2015 Assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.”

He applauded the frontline workers, healthcare workers and ECI officials for performing election duty during the COVID times last year. All poll officials will be vaccinated against Covid-19 before elections,” Arora said.

“Our tributes to the COVID warriors, doctors, paramedics, nurses, researchers, scientists and all our officials on election duty who are located on the frontline,” said Arora. 

Emphasising security issues, Arora said, “Adequate CAPFs deployment shall be ensured during elections. All critical, vulnerable polling stations have been identified and an adequate number of CAPFs will be deployed.”

“A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls during these elections. 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry,” added Arora. 

He also announced guidelines for the upcoming elections. These include — door-to-door campaigning to be restricted to five persons including the candidate, polling officials to be vaccinated, separate norms for suspected COVID-19 patients.

(With agency inputs)

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