Kohima, October 09 (NEx): The Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure the conduct of free, fair, peaceful, transparent, ethical and safe elections during COVID-19, revised the norms concerning Star Campaigners for all ongoing and future elections during the period of pandemic COVID-19.
ECI has announced the schedule for conduct of the General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Bihar on September 25, 2020 and of the Bye-Elections of various State on September 29, 2020 and October 05, 2020.
On August 21, 2020, the Commission issued broad guidelines setting the paradigm for the conduct of elections during the period of COVID-19 after taking inputs from political parties and Chief Electoral Officers of the States/UTs.
The ECI during its visit to Bihar from September 29, 2020 to October 01, 2020 for reviewing the preparedness of General Elections of the State of Bihar held wide ranging consultations starting with National and State Political Parties, Senior Officers of the State including Chief Secretary, ACS (Home), DGP; Chief Electoral Officer, District Election Officers and Superintendents of Police etc.
The Commission was informed that district authorities have completed the identification of locations for electoral campaign and are in the process of marking it for public gathering, keeping COVID safety norms in view, in each constituency and as directed by Commission. Similar exercises have been carried out by election authorities in the constituencies wherever bye-elections are scheduled.
During the Press Conference on October 01, 2020 at 5PM, clarifications were sought about the potential health concerns during such visits, especially huge crowd gathering during the landing of helicopters etc. After considering all facts and circumstances emerging due to pandemic and keeping a balance between the requirement of campaign by the political parties, Commission has decided to revise the norms of Star Campaigners.
In view of the above, and with a view to ensure the conduct of free, fair, peaceful, transparent, ethical and safe elections during COVID-19, the Commission revised the norms concerning Star Campaigners for all ongoing and future elections during the period of pandemic COVID-19 in the following manner:
1. The maximum limit on the number of star campaigners for recognized National/State political parties shall be 30 in place of 40 and for unrecognized registered political parties it shall be 15 in place of 20 during the period of pandemic.
2. Accordingly, the period of submission of the list of star campaigners is extended from 7 days to 10 days from the date of notification. Political parties, which have already submitted a list of star campaigners shall resubmit a revised list within the stipulated period.
3. Request for permission for the campaigning by star campaigners shall be submitted to the district election authorities at least 48 hours before the start of campaign so that all necessary safety measures are put in place by all concerned stakeholders well in time.
4. It is also directed to undertake wide publicity through media and inform all National/State/other registered political parties.
These revised norms shall come into effect immediately, the ECI has said.