Reacting to the Election Commission guidelines for the Bihar assembly elections scheduled in October-November this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has demanded life insurance coverage for voters if they contract coronavirus infection during the election.
RJD, who has been opposing election during the ongoing pandemic, has also said the election commission guidelines needed numerous clarifications.
RJD MP Manoj Jha while speaking to ANI has said that insurance coverage for voters should be given to voters as they are the main people in election and if the Election Commission does not clarify its guidelines, then there might be a dip in polling by up to 30 or 32 per cent.
BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Thakur said, "The Election commission is looking after every possible suggestion and many new decisions will be implemented to protect voters from getting infected with COVID-19. New booths are being added to ensure that voters do not congregate in large numbers in a single booth to vote."
The Election Commission has approved broad guidelines for the conduct of general elections and bypolls during COVID-19 period under which candidates will have the option to fill the nomination form and affidavit and deposit security amount online and five persons including candidate will be allowed for the door-to-door campaign.
The revised norms come ahead of assembly polls in Bihar which may be held later this year.
The norms state that hand gloves shall be provided to all the electors for signing on the voter register and pressing the button of EVM for voting.
Voters will be given gloves before they head to the EVM machines. There shall be maximum 1000 electors instead of 1500 electors in a polling station.
The commission has also revised the norms of the number of persons accompanying the candidate and number of vehicles at the time of nomination.
An Election Commission press release said that public meetings and roadshows shall be permissible with suitable instructions subject to containment instructions issued by the Home Ministry and state government.
Face Mask, Sanitisers, Thermal scanners, gloves, face shields and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process while ensuring social distancing norms.
The release said that the poll panel has created optional facility "to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking the print, before the RO concerned".
"For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit security amount for contesting the elections online. Keeping containment guidelines in view, the Commission has limited the number of persons including candidate for the door-to-door campaign to five," it said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)