In view of the rising COVID-19 cases, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines in relation to the counting of votes of assembly and by-pole elections. The ECI made negative RT-PCR test reports or complete vaccination reports mandatory for candidates and their agents to enter counting centres.
EC issues guidelines-
The counting halls should be sufficiently big, should have proper ventilation, windows, exhaust fans and should be sanitized before, during and after counting.
Sealed outer boxes of EVM/VVPAT shall also be sanitized.
At the entry of counting halls/premises
Thermal scanning of all persons should be carried out.
Sanitisers, soap and water shall be made available and every person entering should be made to sanitize hands.
No one having any symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cold should be allowed to enter the counting hall.
Inside the counting halls
Social distancing should be maintained inside the counting halls, seating arrangements of counting personnel should be made keeping in mind social distancing.
There shall be a sufficient number of PPE kit for counting personnel. Besides, mask, sanitisers, face shield and gloves should also be provided.
There shall be proper arrangement for disposal of masks, face shield, PPE kit and other COVID related wastage.
There will be no victory procession after the counting, and not more than two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer.
The DDO shall be the nodal officer at each counting centre and will ensure adherence to following the guidelines, with the help of the Nodal Health Officer. anybody found violating the guidelines will be liable to action under the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable.