With the poll campaigning underway in full steam in four states and one Union Territory, the Election Commission is set to announce the schedule for the Assembly elections on Friday.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora is addressing a press conference in New Delhi. Paying tributes to COVID warriors, Arora said, "Our tributes to the COVID warriors, doctors, paramedics, nurses, researchers, scientists and all our officials on election duty who are located on the frontline."
"In the thick of the pandemic, ECI started test trials with elections to 18 seats to Rajya Sabha. After that, came the challenge of the Bihar elections, it was indeed a watershed moment for ECI. It proved to be a litmus test."
The CEC further added that a total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls during these elections. 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in the four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Among some key points announced by the CEC include extension of voting time by one hour like in Bihar polls, door-to-door campaigning restricted to five people and allowing roadshows, subject to following COVID protocols.
Critical police stations have been identified and adequate security arrangements have been made. CCTV and Webcasting to be done in all critical and vulnerable polling stations, Arora said, further adding that all the poll officials will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before elections for five assemblies.
Model code of conduct comes into force in all five States including Tamil Nadu which are going to polls; Tamil Nadu to have 88,936 polling stations, says Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora @xpresstn @NewIndianXpress— T Muruganandham (@muruga_TNIE) February 26, 2021
Polls are to be held for 294 seats in West Bengal, 234 seats in Tamil Nadu, 140 seats in Kerala, 126 seats in Assam, and 30 seats in Puducherry.
The terms of the legislative assemblies of these four states are ending in May and June.
In Puducherry, President's Rule has been imposed after the V Narayanasamy-led Congress resigned earlier this week ahead of the trust vote.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)