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New COVID protocols to virtual campaigning: Here are 5 key announcements made by EC

Here are the five key announcements made by the Election Commission ahead of the upcoming elections this year. Read more.

New COVID protocols to virtual campaigning Here are 5 key announcements made by Election commission gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Jan 8, 2022, 5:43 PM IST
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The Election Commission of India said on Saturday that voting in five states will be held in seven stages beginning February 10 and lasting until March 7. On March 10, the results of the five states will be released. The Chief Election Commissioner, Sushil Chandra, began his remarks by stating that elections will be held in 690 assembly seats. According to the commission, it is focused on COVID safe elections, a trouble-free voting system, and maximum voter engagement. He noted that in the middle of the present COVID surge, they must organise elections in a way that protects voters and parties, and that the commission has three goals: COVID safe elections, maximum voter participation, and hassle-free voting.

Let's take a look at the five key announcements made by the commission:

Increased number of women
According to CEC Sushil Chandra, 18.34 crore voters, including service voters, would vote in this election, with 8.55 crore of them being women. In the five states, including Uttar Pradesh, around 24.9 lakh first-time voters have registered. The number of voting places has been raised by 16%. A total of 1,620 voting places will be staffed by women.

Candidates with criminal antecedents
The commission has said it is mandatory for political parties to upload detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases selected as poll candidates on their website. They will also have to give a reason to choose the candidate.

New COVID protocols
All voting stations will include Covid-mitigation facilities, such as sanitisers and masks, and the number of booths will be raised. The voting time has also been extended by one hour. All poll workers will be treated as frontline employees and receive a third precautionary booster dosage in the coming days.

Also Read | Election Commission announces polls in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur; schedule inside

Use of vigil app
The commission invited voters to use our cVIGIL software to report any violations of the Model Code of Conduct and the distribution of money or gifts. The commissioner stated that after receiving a complaint, the employees would reach at the crime scene within 100 minutes.

Virtual campaigning
Because of the rising number of Covid incidents, the election commission has banned all demonstrations, roadshows, and padayatras until January 15. Chief Electoral Commissioner Sushil Chandra announced that on January 15, the election board would review the COVID-19 situation and determine whether or not to allow public demonstrations. The Chief Election Commissioner stated that the Chief Secretary or District Magistrate would be fully responsible for ensuring that all Covid-related formalities are followed. 

Sushil Chandra, the Chief Election Commissioner, has urged political parties to campaign using internet channels rather than physical ones. All political parties have been instructed to campaign digitally whenever feasible and keep public activity to a minimum. Door-to-door campaigning is restricted to a maximum of five members per campaigning team.
There will be no public meetings between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and door-to-door canvassing will be limited to five or fewer persons. After the election results are announced, no victory marches or similar events will be permitted.

Also Read | Election Commission announces five state polls: Election in 7 phases, new Covid protocols and more

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