Amid strong indication that the upcoming assembly polls in 5 states might get delayed due to surge in Omicron cases across India, the Election Commission on Thursday confirmed that the polls would take place on time. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, on the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, said all political parties want the elections to be conducted on time following all Covid-19 protocols. The parties suggested ways to protect vulnerable groups from Covid threat and wanted curbs to be put in place at election rallies.
Refraining from announcing the polling dates just as yet, CEC Sushil Chandra said that the final voters list would be released on January 5, 2022. Voting during the assembly elections will be held from 8 am to 6 pm on the date of polling. The staff deployed at voting booths across the state would be fully vaccinated.
VVPATs will be installed at all voting booths. Live webcasting facilities will be available at around 1 lakh voting booths to ensure transparency. Meanwhile, people above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities and Covid affected people, who are unable to come to polling booth, will be able to vote from their doorsteps.
When asked about big political rallies during Covid-19, he responded that EC has discussed this issue with the health secretary. When elections are announced, the election body will issue directions specifically on this issue looking at the situation then.
Hence, the significant steps that have been taken in light of the Covid-19 situation include voting time to be extended by an hour, 11,000 booths to be added to ensure distancing, frontline workers to be fully vaccinated, all voters to receive at least one dose of vaccine and 800 polling booths to be set up for women.