New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday (February 26) announced the schedule for assembly polls in four states and one union territory.
Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora announced the dates for Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry’s 2021 election polls in a media briefing. The counting of votes for all five assembly elections will take place on May 2 said the Election Commission (EC).
The EC laid down a Model Code of Conduct as the guidelines for the political parties and leaders ahead of the assembly elections. "Model Code of Conduct to come into force immediately after the announcement of the election dates. The commission has made adequate arrangements to ensure effective implementation of MCC guidelines," Sunil Arora said.
The Chief Election Commissioner added that “it’s mandatory for all the political parties and candidates to follow the model Code of Conduct” but keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation “states can make local variations to the elections guideline keeping in mind the health requirements of the region.”
Additionally, The CEC revealed adequate CAPFs deployment is to be ensured during the elections. "All critical, vulnerable polling stations identified and an adequate number of CAPFs will be deployed. Advance teams are already deployed in these States/UT," he said.
The chief also added that postal ballot facility has been extended as an option for the senior citizens aged 80 years and above, persons with disabilities and electors employed in essential services.
Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic situation, CEC said, “A separate SOP is there for COVID-19 patients and suspect COVID-19 patient. Polling time has been uniformly increased by an hour."
While announcing the guideline for the political parties the CEC said, “door-to-door campaigning has been restricted to five persons including the candidate. Roadshows are allowed subjected to convoy breaking after five vehicles.”
“All the polling officials will be vaccinated,” he added.
Here is the list of dates for assembly polls:
West Bengal: Elections in 8 phases
First phase: March 27, Second phase: April 1, Third phase: April 6, Fourth phase: April 10, Fifth phase: April 17, Sixth phase: April 22, Seventh phase: April 26 and Eighth phase: April 29
Puducherry: Election in 1 phase
Date of polling: April 6
Tamil Nadu: Election in 1 phase
Date of polling: April 6
Kerala: Election in 1 phase
Date of elections: April 6
Assam: Election in 3 phases
First phase- elections on 27 March, Second phase- elections on April 1 and Third phase on April 6