New Delhi , Oct 7 : The Election Commission of India (EC I)has announced the schedule for conduct of the General Elections to the Legislative Assembly in Bihar and the Bye-Elections of various States.
The ECI had issued broad guidelines setting the paradigm for the conduct of elections during the period of COVID-19 after taking inputs from political parties and Chief Electoral Officers of the States/UTs.
The ECI during its visit to Bihar from Sept 29 to Oct 1 for reviewing the preparedness for General Elections of the State of Bihar held wide ranging consultations starting with National and State Political Parties on Sept 30; Senior Officers of the State including Chief secretary, ACS(Home), DGP; Chief Electoral Officer, District Election Officers and Superintendents of Police etc. Commission was informed that district authorities have completed the identification of locations for electoral campaign and are in the process of marking it for public gathering, keeping COVID safety norms in view, in each constituency and as directed by Commission, now all this information has been made available widely through media by the Chief Electoral Officer, Bihar for the purposes of campaign during these elections. Similar exercises have been carried out by election authorities in the constituencies wherever bye-elections are scheduled.
Earlier, senior officers of Commission visited Bihar and reviewed the electoral preparedness at Patna, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Gaya on Sept 14 and Sept 15 . The Commission and its officers held a series of virtual meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer. Bihar and District Election Officers and Superintendents of Police before visiting the State.
The Commission was also informed during the visit of Bihar about the matter of large gatherings during the visit of Star campaigners. During the Press Conference on Oct 1 clarifications were sought about the potential health concerns during such visits, especially huge crowd gathering during the landing of helicopters etc.
The matter was further deliberated in the Commission today.
After considering all facts and circumstances emerging due to pandemic and keeping a balance between the requirement of campaign by the political parties, Commission has decided to revise the norms of Star Campaigners.
With a view to ensuring the conduct of free, fair, peaceful, transparent, ethical and safe elections during COVID-19, Commission hereby revises the norms concerning Star Campaigners for all ongoing and future elections during the period of pandemic COVID-19 ,the maximum limit on the number of star campaigners for recognized National/State political parties shall be 30 in place of 40 and for unrecognized registered political parties it shall be 15 in place of 20 during the period of pandemic.
Accordingly, the period of submission of the list of star campaigners is extended from 7 days to 10 days from the date of notification. Political parties, which have already submitted a list of star campaigners shall resubmit a revised list within the stipulated period.
Request for permission for the campaigning by star campaigners shall be submitted to the district election authorities at least 48 hours before the start of campaign so that all necessary safety measures are put in place by all concerned stakeholders well in time.
These revised norms shall come into effect immediately.