Bihar election 2020 will be the first Assembly election to be held amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, dates of which will be announced by the Election Commission of India on Friday. The assembly is slated to lapse in November this year. Many political parties had asked the Commission to defer the elections in the wake of the pandemic. Rajya Sabha elections were held in June.
In August, the EC released a standard guideline to conduct polls and bypolls amid the pandemic. Going by that, campaigning in the run up to the high-octane Bihar Assembly Elections will be a muted affair this year.
Here are the guidelines
* Door-to-door campaign is subject to restrictions. Only five, including the candidate but excluding the security personnel, are allowed for door-to-door campaigning.
*The convoy of vehicles should be broken after every five vehicles instead of 10 vehicles.The interval between two sets of convoy of vehicles should be half an hour instead of gap of 100 meters.
* Every person shall wear face masks during every election-related activity.
* Thermal screening of all persons. Sanitizer, soap and water to be made available at every booth.
* Large halls should be identified as booths and counting centres so that social distancing can be maintained.
* Nomination form will be made available online. It can be filled online and its print may be taken out for submitting.
* Affidavit can also be filled online.
* Candidates can deposit security money online though the cash deposit option will also be there.
* Only two persons can accompany a candidate for submission of nomination.
* Only two vehicles will be allowed during the nomination filing process.
* Not more than 7 counting tables should be allowed in a counting hall. Hence, three to four halls may be taken up for the counting of votes of one constituency.
The maximum number of voters at a polling station in Bihar has been reduced from 1,500 to 1,000. The Election Commission earlier decided not to extend the postal ballot facility to voters over 65 years, citing challenges and constraints to implement this rule. The postal ballot rule would, however, be applicable for voters over the age of 80, disabled or those suffering from coronavirus.