Government of Odisha issues Covid-19 guidelines for upcoming Panchayat elections

Bhubaneswar: Keeping in mind the rising cases of the Covid-19 pandemic in Odisha, the office of Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) on Wednesday has issued a set of guidelines for general elections to Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs).

The office of SRC in an official order, said, “As per the COVID guidelines issued by State Election Commission vide their letter no. 225/SEC dated 10th January & in the exercise of the powers conferred under Section 24(l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 read with Rule 8(1) of the Odisha Disaster Management Rules, 2010, the state government, in supersession of earlier instructions hereby lays down the following stipulations for general elections to PRIs, 2022.”

Some of the important guidelines issued by SRC are as follows:

  • If the area of the panchayat constituency is small, the campaign should be restricted to the constituency concerned only. The candidates contesting in the election must wear masks on their face and undertake door-to-door campaign with minimum supporters, maintaining social distance during the campaign. The maximum persons allowed for campaigning door-to-door are limited to 5.
  • As far as possible the priority should be given to the campaign through social/
    electronic media.
  • The candidates testing positive for COVID should restrict their campaign through electronic media only. Physical presence in campaign is strictly prohibited.
  • Political parties and candidates are advised to conduct the campaign as much as possible through digital/virtual/media platforms/mobile based mode instead of physical mode ensuring strict compliance of COVID safety norms.
  • No Road show, padajatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession are allowed during the campaigning.
  • No physical rally of political parties or probable candidates or any other groups related to election are allowed.
  • No victory procession after the counting is allowed and not more than two
    persons would be allowed to accompany the winning candidate.
  • Political parties/candidates having their camp office in different Wards are instructed to wear face mask and often sanitize their hands.
  • In order to avoid overcrowding, district administration will 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 will enter Election Officer’s office by following social distancing and observing COVID protocols.
  • Large gatherings in the dispersal/receiving centres should be avoided and proper social distancing measures undertaken.
  • Large gatherings outside the counting centre should be prohibited. The winning candidates are prohibited to gather and make processions.

The SRC has strictly prohibited anyone from violating COVID-19 measures. In case of in its order said anybody violating the instructions will face legal action as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and IPC.


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