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Polling in Covid time: Bihar model to be followed in Bengal, says official

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KOLKATA: The Election Commission of India (ECI) will follow the Bihar model, taken up last year for conducting the assembly polls amid the coronavirus pandemic, during the upcoming election in West Bengal, a senior official at the CEO office said on Tuesday.

The ECI has already started inoculation of the officials involved with the polling and the entire process would get over before the election starts, he said.

"Covid protocol is still applicable in West Bengal. We will stick to the protocol followed during the assembly election in Bihar," the official said.

Candidates for the election would also have to follow the protocols, he said.

Officials inside polling booths will wear masks, face shields and gloves and use sanitiser on the premises.

Once inside polling stations, voters will have their body temperatures checked, the official said.

He said that the body temperature of a voter would be checked for a second time if the person is found having a temperature beyond the permissible limit of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

"If the person's body temperature is found high for the second time too, the voter will be asked to come back to cast vote in the final hour of the day (5 pm-6 pm)," he added.

Suspected Covid-19 patients will be allowed to cast their votes only after others finish exercising their franchise.

Electors would be provided with disposable gloves for one hand, which they will use for signing and to press the button of an EVM, the official said.

"The gloves must be thrown to dustbins kept outside the polling stations. The bins fitted with GPS tracking devices will be taken to nearest hospitals where the gloves will be destroyed," he said.

Election to the 294-member West Bengal assembly is due in April-May.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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