New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday has made it mandatory for candidates and their agents to show negative RT-PCR test reports or complete vaccination reports to enter counting centres.
The Election Commission said, “No candidates/agents will be allowed inside the counting hall without undergoing RT-PCR/RAT test or without having 2 doses of vaccination against Covid-19 and will have to produce negative RT-PCR report or RAT report or vaccination reports within 48 hours of start of counting.”
According to the ECI’s official notification, the District Election Officer (DEO) will make arrangements for the RT-PCR test of the candidates and the counting agents before the day of the final counting.
Further, the election commission reiterated that there will be no victory procession after the counting of votes. It added, ” Not more than two people shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officers”.
The EC further prohibited public gatherings outside the counting venue during the process of the counting of votes.
The commission suggested bigger and more spacious rooms for the counting of votes to maintain social distancing and for proper ventilation due to ongoing coronavirus threats. It said that all counting centres should be disinfected “before, during and after the counting”. Besides, “sealed outer boxes of EVM/VVPAT shall also be sanitised”, the ECI said.
The election commission has assured that all counting officials will be provided masks, sanitisers, face shield, and gloves to prevent them from novel coronavirus. Further, the election commission has directed mandatory thermal scanning of all persons who will be entering the counting centres. The commission has permitted candidates to change the counting agents if he/she turns out to be coronavirus positive.
The election commission also warned that legal actions will be taken against those who will violate the orders.
On May 2, the election commission will be announcing the assembly election results of four states and one Union Territory– West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.