After banning the victory processions on vote counting the Election Commission has now made it copulsory for the contesting candidates and their polling agents to either show their negative Covid-19 report or a proof of having recieved the two jabs of the Covid-19 vaccines to enter the counting centres on May 2.
This guideline was a part of the series of guidelines issued by the election body on Wednesday for the day of counting, when the results of Assembly elections held in fives states and UTs will be declared on May 2.
The states where elections were held included Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry. West Bengal is still left with its last phase of election on April 29.
The candidates who have contested in the elections will have to show their Covid-19 negative test report of within 48 hours to enter the counting centres.
The polling body has assigned all District Election Officers with a task of recieving either RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test from both the candidates and their counting agents for entering the counting centres.
If the candidate or any of his agent is positive then his replacement will be appointed.
“No one having any symptom of COVID19-like fever, cold etc. shall be allowed to enter the counting hall,” said EC’s instruction.
Here are the other guidelines issued by the EC for the day of vote counting :
- Masks, hand sanitisers, face shields, and gloves should be provided to all security and counting officers.
- Counting hall to be sufficiently big to ensure social distancing and should be well ventilated.
- Counting centres and containers carrying EVMs and VVPAT machines to be disinfected before counting begins.
- Candidates and their counting agents to be provided with PPE kits. Seating inside the hall should be arranged in a way that one agent sitting between two counting agents should be in PPE.
- Additional Returning Officers can be appointed to supervise the counting of postal ballots. If needed postal ballots can be counted in a separate hall.
- DEOs have to obtain a COVID compliance certificate regarding precautions taken in each counting centre from the concerned health authorities.