New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has on Wednesday issued new guidelines regarding the counting of votes in the assembly and by-elections, because of the increasing cases of corona in the country. The ECI has mandated a negative RT-PCR test report or complete vaccination report for candidates and their agents to enter the counting centres.
EC has issued new guidelines-
The counting hall should be sufficiently large, have proper ventilation, windows, exhaust fans and should be sanitized before, during and after the counting.
EVM / VVPAT sealed boxes should also be sanitized.
On the entry of counting hall/campus
Thermal scanning of all individuals should be done.
Sanitiser, soap and water will be provided and everyone entering will have to sanitize hands.
No person with symptoms of fever, cold such as Covid-19 will be allowed to enter the counting hall.
Inside the counting hall
Social distance should be observed inside the counting hall, seating counting of the counting personnel should be made keeping in mind the social distancing.
There should be a sufficient number of PPE kits for counting personnel. In addition, masks, sanitisers, face shields and gloves should also be provided.
There should be proper arrangements for the disposal of masks, face shields, PPE kits and other corona related vestiges.
No victory procession will take place after the counting of votes, and no more than two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate to obtain an election certificate from the returning officer.
The DDO will be the nodal officer in every counting centre and will ensure compliance with the guidelines with the help of the nodal health officer. Any person violating the guidelines will be liable to take action under the provisions of sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Apart from this, legal action and other legal provisions will be applicable under Section 188 of IPC.