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Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) on Wednesday issued fresh election campaign guidelines to avoid congregations during the upcoming Panchayat elections in accordance with the directives of the State Election Commission (SEC). 

As per the new guidelines, maximum five persons including the candidate will be allowed during door-to-door campaign. The candidate should ensure maintaining social distance and wearing face masks without fail during the campaign.

The SRC said that priority should be given to the campaign through social and electronic media.

“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 of Covid safety norms,” the SRC said.

“No Road show, padajatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession 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,” it added.

Other guidelines issued by SRC for Panchayat polls 2022

• Political Parties/candidates having their Camp Office in different Wards be instructed to wear face mask and often sanitize their hands, either with sanitizer 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 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 process of counting. 

The SRC 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 dated 10th January,2022 shall be strictly followed while conducting General Elections to PRIs, 2022.

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