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Ramakanta Biswas

The Election Commission has imposed a series of restrictions in the campaign while announcing the by-poll to the Pipili Assembly Constituency in Puri district to be held on September 30. 

As per the notification, the silence period has been enhanced and will come into force 72 hours before the end of the poll. During the period, no active campaigning by the candidates or political parties is allowed.

The Commission allowed 30 percent of the total capacity or 200 persons, whichever is less, for indoor meeting while  50 percent of capacity (as per Covid-19 guidelines) or 1000 in the case of Star Campaigners and 50 percent of the capacity or 500 in all other cases will be allowed in outdoor.

The Model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect from September 4, 2021 onwards in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly constituency going for election is included.

During pre and post nomination, procession and public meetings are prohibited. Only three vehicles are permitted within a periphery of 100 meters of returning officer’s office. No procession for nomination shall be permitted.

During the outdoor campaign, the entire area will be cordoned off and guarded by the police. The count of people entering the ground will be monitored. Expenditure for the cordoning/barricading will be borne by the candidate/party. Only those grounds which are cordoned/barricaded completely will be used for rallies.

The Commission has also capped the number of Star Campaigners to 20 for the bye-elections for National  and State recognised parties and 10 for unrecognised registered parties in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

No roadshow, motorcycle and cycle rallies will be allowed. Door-to-door campaign will be allowed with five persons including the candidates and their representatives.

For street corner meeting, maximum 50 persons will be allowed (subject to availability of space and compliance to Covid-19 guidelines).

In case of campaign through video van, not more than 50 audiences will be allowed in cluster point subject to availability of space and compliance to Covid-19 guidelines. 

All polling personnel and election officials including private persons engaged in the election duty shall be double vaccinated before taking their services. 

Similarly, candidate/election agent/polling agent counting agent/driver etc. whoever is coming in contact with the public or election officials have to be double vaccinated.

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