Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: As the Election Commission of India is likely to issue notification for bypoll in Balasore and Tirtol Assembly seats anytime, the Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha held a meeting on Wednesday to review the administration’s preparedness for upcoming bye-elections.
The two Assembly constituencies are lying vacant following the death of Balasore legislator Madan Mohan Dutta of the BJP in June and Tirtol legislator and former Minister Bishnu Charan Das of the BJD in July this year.
The Election Commission of India had on September 4 decided to conduct bye-elections to fill all the 64 vacancies in different State Assemblies of the country along with the General Elections to Bihar Assembly. The entire process is to be completed by November 29.
CEO Sushil Kumar Lohani held the meeting with the Collectors and Superintendents of Police of Balasore and Jagatsinghpur district through video conferencing.
Lohani directed both the District Election Officers and Collectors to follow the instruction/guidelines on COVID-19 while making all arrangements for bye-election strictly till the completion of poll.
Extensive awareness drive on mask wearing, hand sanitising, social distancing and thermal screening of voters as well as polling personnel, appointment of nodal heath officer at district and constituency level would be given top priority during the bye-election in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Lohani.
The CEO said that special arrangement shall be made for the COVID-19 affected voters during election like isolation centre and those voters would be allowed to cast their franchise at the last hour of poll.
As a measure of compliance to COVID-19 guidelines for observing social distancing during voting, the number of electors per booth has been limited to 1000 maximum, according to a press release issued by the CEO’s office.
Accordingly, polling stations where the number of voters was more than 1000 has been bifurcated and auxiliary polling stations have been created by both the District Election Officers in consultation with the political party representatives.
All persons associated with the bye-elections must abide by the COVID-19 guidelines, use mask while coming to vote and follow the norms for hand sanitisation and social distancing in the polling stations.
The CEO took a detailed review on the preparatory activities for deployment and training programme of polling persons, vehicle arrangements, security arrangements, strong room, dispersal centre and counting hall etc.