Thiruvananthapuram: The State Election Commission (SEC) has directed that the practice of greeting candidates with garlands, bouquets, note garlands and shawls should be avoided during the campaigning for the local body elections in the state.
The directive also says that jathas, gatherings and kalashakottu (the finale of election campaigning involving large processions) should also be avoided.
These directives are mentioned in the draft guidelines prepared by the Commission to conduct elections in accordance with the COVID protocol.
Candidates should limit the use of notices and pamphlets for campaigning and instead make the most of social media.
At any point, there should be only five people, including the candidates, for home visit, but they shouldn’t enter the house. There should be only a maximum of three vehicles for road shows and vehicle rallies.
If any candidate becomes COVID-positive or goes into quarantine as per the advice of the health department, they should immediately withdraw from campaigning. They should avoid public contact. They can resume campaigning only on the recommendation of the health department after test results become negative.
Those participating in campaigning should strictly use masks and sanitizers.
No more than 30 persons shall attend the meetings convened by the electoral officer to discuss election activities and the model code of conduct. Also, only 30 people will be allowed during the inspection of electoral machines.
When the district-level meeting of political parties is convened by collectors, there can be one representative per party and a maximum of 40 people can participate. Spacious and well-ventilated rooms should be arranged for such meetings.
The election commission has also directed that there should be a distance of 2 metres between seats in the hall and masks and sanitizers should be used.
The proposals will be finalised after taking into account the views of the political parties.
COVID-positive candidates can submit papers
Even if a candidate is COVID positive or has been advised quarantine, he/she can submit the nomination papers through someone he/she chooses.
If required, a time can be allotted in advance for submitting the papers.
Only one vehicle will be allowed when candidates go to submit the papers.
The electoral officer must wear a face shield in addition to gloves and use sanitizer after accepting each nomination paper.
For those who accompany the candidates, a separate waiting area can be arranged.