Udhampur: Taking a serious note of non-compliance of COVID-19 SOPs during the election campaign, District Panchayat Election Officer Udhampur Dr. Piyush Singla asked all contesting candidates and Political parties to wear a face mask, maintain social distancing and follow COVID-19 SOPs strictly during the campaigning.
Dr. Singla said detailed guidelines have been issued by State Election Commission wherein the Commission has limited the number of persons, including the candidate, for the door-to-door campaign. Public meetings, roadshows, and physical campaign in the form of door-to-door campaigns are permitted in elections during COVID-19 subject to restrictions aimed at curbing the outbreak, as per the guidelines issued by the State Election Commission
The guidelines allow public meetings and roadshows with suitable instructions subject to containment regulations issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Jammu & Kashmir government from time to time. Dr. Singla added that to ensure that COVID-19 related restrictions are followed in public meetings; the district administration has identified dedicated grounds for public gatherings with clearly marked entry and exit points. In all such identified grounds, markers will have to be placed in advance to ensure social distancing by the organizers of public gatherings.
Dr. Singla stressed that political parties and contesting candidates should ensure that all COVID-19 related requirements like wearing face masks, sanitizers, thermal scanning, etc. are fulfilled during each of the political activities.
Non-compliance of instructions will be liable to be proceeded as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable. Dr. Singla also informed that Face masks, sanitizer, thermal scanners, gloves, face shield, and PPE kits are used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing nor Thermal screening of all persons is carried out and sanitizer and soap and water are also made available at polling stations.
Dr. Singla further said postal ballot facility is extended to voters with disabilities, those who are over 80 years of age, people employed in essential services, as also those who are COVID-19 positive or suspected to be suffering from the viral ailment and are under quarantine. Dr. Singla exhorted upon all political parties, contesting candidates, and the general public to wear a face mask, maintain social distancing and follow COVID19 SOPs for their safety and safety of the general Public failing which strict action will be taken against the violators.