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ECI expresses ‘serious laxity’ on part of political parties for failing to maintain crowd discipline

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By Joymala Bagchi
New Delhi [India], October 21 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken a serious view of the lack of strictness by political parties following the upcoming Bihar Assembly election and has urged them to demonstrate utmost vigil and care during electioneering.
In a letter addressed to the President/General Secretary of the recognized National/State Political Parties, ECI said, “Election Commission of India has taken a serious view of the laxity on the part of political parties and candidates, on the ground, in terms of maintaining crowd discipline, and hereby reiterates and further advises them to demonstrate utmost vigil and care during electioneering.”
More importantly, the Commission also expects CEOs and the District machinery to invoke “appropriate and relevant penal provisions against the candidates concerned as well as the organisers responsible for such violations.”
Separate instructions for strict compliance of guidelines are being issued to Chief Electoral Officers and State Governments of poll going states, the Commission said.
The ECI said that instances of such public meetings have come to notice of the Commission, where a large number of crowds have assembled in utter violation of social distancing and the political leaders/campaigners are addressing the gathering without wearing masks in complete disregard of the guidelines/instructions issued by Election Commission.
“By doing so, the political parties and candidates are not only flouting the guidelines of the Commission with impunity but exposing themselves as well as the public attending the rallies/meetings to the danger of infection during the pandemic”, the letter reads.
In its guidelines, ECI has put forth rules and regulations that mandatorily need to be adopted during the entire election procedure. Furthermore, for the first time, every candidate shall deposit security money online following the pandemic.
Additionally, under the commission’s direction, the number of persons to accompany a candidate for submission of Nomination has been restricted to two.
Also based on these broad guidelines, a detailed COVID-19 related comprehensive plan has been prepared at the state level, taking local conditions into account.
The Bihar Assembly election will be held in three phases with polling to take place on October 28, and November 3 and 7, with the counting of votes to begin on November 10. (ANI)

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