All parties in favour of holding UP polls on time with COVID-19 protocol: Chief Election Commissione | India News

Lucknow: In view of the rising COVID-19 cases and the upcoming Assembly elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra on Thursday (December 30, 2021) stated that representatives of all political parties, who met him during his visit to Lucknow, have said that the Assembly elections should be conducted on time following all Covid-19 protocols.

The Chief Election Commissioner’s statement comes as a clear indication that there will be no postponement of the elections in the poll-bound states.

While addressing the media in Lucknow, Sushil Chandra said that Uttar Pradesh now has 52.08 lakh new voters who will exercise their franchise in the upcoming assembly elections.

“In view of the increase in the number of voters and also the prevailing pandemic condition, we have decided to set up 11,000 more polling booths to ensure that there is no crowding. With this, there will also be an increase in the number of polling personnel. We are also increasing the polling time by one hour across the state to prevent crowding at polling stations,” Sushil Chandra said.

Adding that with this the number of voters per polling booth will be reduced to 1,250 instead of the earlier 1,500 to ensure social distancing norms.

The Chief Election Commissioner, at the presser, also added that some political parties said that the number of rallies should be limited in view of the pandemic and some wanted deployment of paramilitary forces.

“We received some complaints about officers being biased and we have noted all complaints and suggestions,” he said.

Chandra further said that as a result of awareness campaigns, nearly 28.86 lakh new women voters had been enrolled, which is five lakh more than the men.

“The gender ratio of women voters has also increased from 839 in 2017 to 868 in 2021,” he said.

Further, the Chief Election Commissioner, announced that special arrangements would be made for senior citizens and divyangs at polling stations and they would also be given the option of postal ballets, lists of which would be made available to political parties.

“We have asked concerned officials to inspect the arrangements and ensure facilities for water, toilets, sitting arrangement, ramps and wheelchairs are available for voters.”

Additionally, all personnel on election duty would be fully vaccinated, while thermal scanners, masks, sanitizers would be available at polling stations.

Chandra said that he had discussed with police officials about the law-and-order situation and asked them to ensure the safety and security of voters, particularly women. Additional women police personnel will be deployed at polling stations.

“We have also asked other agencies to ensure that there is no distribution of money and liquor or any other freebie during elections,” he said.

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