Free, Fair, Participative And Safe Elections To Be Conducted In Bihar During COVID-19: CEC

Sh. Sunil Arora highlighted the need to be extra careful as this election will be keenly watched by the world community being the largest election in the world to be held amid the pandemic

The Election Commission of India today organized a meeting for observers to be deployed for the forthcoming Bihar Legislative Assembly Elections as also bye elections across the states. The schedule for which was announced on 25th September, 2020.

Speaking to the Observers, Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Sunil Arora gave a global perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on election schedules around the world and the detailed the deliberation and assessments done by ECI before taking the decision to conduct elections in Bihar.

This meeting was uniquely positioned as a blend of virtual and physical gathering with more than 700 General, Police and Expenditure Observers joining virtually from 119 locations across the country and about 40 Observers posted in Delhi joining in person.

Sh. Sunil Arora highlighted the need to be extra careful as this election will be keenly watched by the world community being the largest election in the world to be held amid the pandemic. He said the election should be free, fair, and COVID Safe. He stated that the strength of a democracy rests in its primary stakeholder- the voter. All efforts must be made to instill confidence in the voter to come to the polling station on Election Day to cast her or his vote safely and freely.

Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra emphasised the significance of role of Observers. He pointed out that two Special Expenditure Observers have already been appointed by the Commission and if required other such Special Observers would also be appointed as the election process progresses.

Shri Chandra pointed out that familiarization with laid down instructions specifically the highlights of the broad guidelines issued by the Commission on 21st August, 2020 as also by the CEO Bihar should be strictly adhered to. He advised officers to pro-actively redress complaints and ensure impartially while discharging their duties.

Speaking on the occasion, Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar drew the attention of the officers that as Observers they have a statutory duty to perform on behalf of Election Commission of India. He said the officers should always bear in mind they are the actual face of ECI on the ground. He reminded the officers that Bihar Elections needs to be showcased to the world as all attention is focused on these Elections. He said the Observers play an important role in guiding, mentoring and advising the field teams.

Sessions in the half- day long briefing held today for the Delhi based Observers, as also for Officers attending online from other States and UTs, were addressed by Secretary General, ECI, Shri Umesh Sinha and other DECs. Giving a panoramic view of election process, Shri Sinha specifically briefed the officers on Election Planning, Security Management, SVEEP and Media aspects.

Sr. Dy. Election Commissioner Shri Dharmendra Sharma informed the Observers of the training process already conducted for the polling personnel. Dy. Election Commissioner Shri Sudeep Jain spoke to the Observers on the EVM VVPAT management system as also the Electoral Roll issues.

DEC, Shri Chandra Bhushan Kumar, who is also Bihar State In-charge at ECI, detailed out the legal provision, Model Code of Conduct issues specifically in COVID scenario for Bihar Elections. DEC, Shri Ashish Kundra briefed the Observers on the specific IT applications while.

Each of the sessions laid emphasis on the extra dimension of Covid safe election and the broad guidelines issued by the Commission on this subject and the seminal role that Observers would play in ensuring that these guidelines and instructions on various facets are followed in letter and spirit.


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