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इंडियन आवाज़     21 Jan 2022 03:42:04      انڈین آواز

Election Commission reviews poll preparedness in UP

Assures free & fair elections along with strict adherence to COVID guidelines

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AMN / LUCKNOW

The Election Commission reviewed poll preparedness for assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and assured that free and fair elections will be conducted in the State with strict adherence to the COVID guidelines. The Commission also said that all political parties want elections to be held on time in the State.

The full Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had discussions with different stakeholders including representatives of political parties, State government, election officials and DGP and Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh for last three days to review the preparedness for assembly elections in State.

Addressing the media before departure, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that threat of COVID and especially the new omicron variant was discussed with all stakeholders and the Commission announced a volley of measures in view of the COVID.

The CEC also asked the state to step up coronavirus vaccination.

The number of polling booths will be increased and the voting time enhanced by an hour, he said, adding polling officials will be vaccinated and those eligible will be given a booster dose.

Chandra said some parties have also expressed concern over hate speeches, paid news and “biased” officials.

On a three-day visit to Lucknow to review preparations for the elections slated to be held before mid-March, Chandra held a series of meetings with representatives of political parties as well as state and district-level officials.

The Allahabad High Court had on December 23 suggested the Union government defer the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due to a possible Omicron-led third Covid wave.

“I have been told that 86 per cent of people in the state have got the first dose and 49 per cent the second shot of Covid vaccine. We have been assured that in 15 to 20 days, all eligible people will get their first dose. We have asked for increasing vaccination,” he told reporters on the last day of his visit.

He said because of the pandemic, the number of polling booths in the state will be increased by 11,000 to maintain proper social distancing.

“Earlier, a booth was made for 1,500 voters. But keeping in mind the Covid pandemic, the number of voters in each booth has been reduced to 1,250. Because of this, the number of polling booths has increased by 11,000. So, a total of 1,74,351 polling booths will be set up,” he said.

Chandra said besides the Naxal-infested areas, polling time will also be increased by an hour across the state.

Polling officials will be vaccinated and those eligible will be given a booster dose, he said.

Thermal scanners and masks will be provided at all polling booths and special care will be on maintaining social distancing and proper sanitisation, he said.

Chandra said all officers on poll duty will necessarily have to be fully vaccinated and orders have been issued to give the status of frontline workers to the officers related to the elections.

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