All Political Parties Want Polls Be Held As Per Schedule Ensuring Covid Protocol: CEC
Lucknow: Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Thursday said all political parties in Uttar Pradesh want the Assembly elections to be held according to schedule while ensuring Covid protocol.
The CEC also asked the state to step up coronavirus vaccination.
The number of polling booths will be increased and the voting time enhanced by an hour, he said, adding polling officials will be vaccinated and those eligible will be given a booster dose.
Chandra said some parties have also expressed concern over hate speeches, paid news and “biased” officials.
On a three-day visit to Lucknow to review preparations for the elections slated to be held before mid-March, Chandra held a series of meetings with representatives of political parties as well as state and district-level officials.
The Allahabad High Court had on December 23 suggested the Union government defer the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due to a possible Omicron-led third Covid wave.
“I have been told that 86 per cent of people in the state have got the first dose and 49 per cent the second shot of Covid vaccine. We have been assured that in 15 to 20 days, all eligible people will get their first dose. We have asked for increasing vaccination,” he told reporters on the last day of his visit.
He said because of the pandemic, the number of polling booths in the state will be increased by 11,000 to maintain proper social distancing.
Chandra said besides the Naxal-infested areas, polling time will also be increased by an hour across the state.
Polling officials will be vaccinated and those eligible will be given a booster dose, he said. Thermal scanners and masks will be provided at all polling booths and special care will be on maintaining social distancing and proper sanitisation, he said.
Chandra said all officers on poll duty will necessarily have to be fully vaccinated and orders have been issued to give the status of frontline workers to the officers related to the elections.
For the first time, senior citizens above 80 years of age, people with disabilities and those affected by COVID-19 will be provided with the alternative facility of postal voting sitting at home.
The list of all such voters will be given to political parties and a videography team will go to their homes. During this, care will be taken that the secrecy of voting should not be disturbed, he said.
The CEC said some of parties expressed concern over the election rallies being held without following the coronavirus protocol. Apart from this, some parties complained about the “biased” attitude of some in the administration and police, he said.
Representatives of political parties have also expressed concern over hate speeches and paid news, he said, stressing that the Commission is committed to make the voting process smooth, simple and temptation free.
Chandra said there will be at least 800 women-managed polling stations.
Chandra said so far 52.80 lakh new voters have been included, which is a record in itself. This includes 28.86 lakh women voters, he said.
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