Bhubaneswar: In accordance with the directives of the State Election Commission (SEC), the Odisha Special Relief Commissioner on Wednesday issued fresh campaign guidelines to avoid congregations during the upcoming elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the state.
According to the fresh guidelines, the candidates can undertake door-to-door campaign only with minimum supporters while maintaining social distance and must always wear face masks without fail during the campaign in their respective areas.
“In view of COVID-19, campaigning in large groups has been prohibited and the maximum number of persons allowed during the door-to-door campaign is five including the candidate. As far as possible the priority should be given to the campaign through social and electronic media,” the SRC emphasised.
The SRC also issued directives for candidates suffering from COVID-19 infection to restrict their campaign through electronic media only.
Following are other stipulations for General Elections to PRIs, 2022:-
- Further, Political parties and candidates are advised to conduct their campaign as much as possible through digital/virtual/media platforms/ mobile-based mode instead of physical mode ensuring strict compliance with Covid safety norms.
- No Roadshow, Padajatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession shall be allowed.
- No physical rally of Political Parties or probable candidates or any other groups related to the election shall be allowed.
- No victory procession after the counting shall be allowed and not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate.
- Political Parties/ candidates having their Camp Office in different Wards be instructed to wear face masks and often sanitize their hands, either with sanitiser or soap and water. They shall encourage the voters to do the same while campaigning.
- To avoid overcrowding, District Administration shall identify multiple dispersal/receiving/ counting Centres in the Block headquarters as per orders of the State Election Commission.
- While filing nominations, either the candidate or one proposer shall enter Election Officer’s office by following social distancing & observing Covid protocols.
- Large gatherings in the Dispersal/ receiving Centres shall be avoided and proper social distancing measures shall be undertaken.
- Large gatherings outside the counting Centre shall be prohibited. Large gatherings and processing by the winning candidates are prohibited.
- No public gathering outside the counting venue during the process of counting.
The Odisha SRC further warned that anybody violating instructions on COVID-19 measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per 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.
“All other conditions/ COVID-19 Guidelines prescribed by State Election Commission vide Letter No. 225/SEC dated 10th January 2022 (Annexure-I) shall be strictly followed while conducting General Elections to PRIs, 2022,” the SRC order read.