The greatest takeaway from the profitable conduct of the Bihar polls is that the upcoming meeting elections will be held on schedule even when a Covid-19 vaccine is just not developed within the close to future, mentioned Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra. In an interview to Deeksha Bhardwaj, Chandra, who’s slated to take over as chief election commissioner subsequent 12 months, elaborates on the precautions taken for the primary elections for the reason that Covid-19 outbreak to make sure electoral participation.
The Bihar election was the primary main ballot to be held through the pandemic, how was the voter turnout?
We ensured that international pointers for social distancing and sanitisation have been unanimously adopted. This, in flip, helped us obtain the protection of every voter towards Covid-19. Nearly 57.92 per cent voters turned out for the third part, greater than the turnout in 2015, which was 56.66 per cent. Overall, we have now seen a rise in electoral participation as in comparison with the final election, which may be very heartening amid a pandemic.
What challenges did you face through the election?
The greatest problem, in fact, was getting voters to adjust to Covid-19 pointers like social distancing and sanitisation. Safety of voters was one other large problem. Everyone assumed that the voter turnout would lower due to the pandemic, however with the continual efforts of SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program is a voter-awareness program of the EC) and different initiatives undertaken by the Commission, we have been in a position to encourage the voters to really feel secure through the pandemic.
How have been the elections amid pandemic totally different?
More CAPF personnel than traditional have been deployed for the Bihar polls. This ensured that there was not even a single case of sales space capturing. In phrases of expenditure associated seizures, objects value of Rs. 66.41 crore have been seized. These included alcohol, narcotic substances, money and freebies. This is exponentially greater than the Rs 28.82 crore-worth seizure through the 2015 meeting election and the Rs 8.1 crore-worth seizure through the 2019 Lok Sabha election within the state.
What are the key take-aways from the Bihar polls?
The greatest take-away needs to be that even when a vaccine for Covid-19 is just not developed quickly, future elections within the nation will likely be held on schedule. If the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, we are going to all be very comfortable. In case it doesn’t, pointers just like these put in place for Bihar should be noticed for different upcoming elections — together with these in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry. It’s been a really peaceable and secure election in Bihar and that offers us immense hope.
The ECI assigned a selected Covid-hour for individuals who had examined positive for the an infection, these underneath quarantine and people with excessive temperatures. What was the influence?
Over 240 Covid-19 positive sufferers selected to train their franchise and solid their poll over the three phases. None of them used the postal ballots that have been offered to them and solid their votes in particular person on the polling cubicles. Additionally, throughout this one hour, all polling officers have been clad in PPE kits.
Was the election inclusive by way of participation from all sections?
The election was an particularly inclusive one with the fee organising at the very least two polling stations in each meeting constituency that have been run solely by ladies. Additional preparations have been made for Covid-19 sufferers, senior residents and folks with disabilities. The fee additionally carried out a global webinar with participation from almost 30-40 international locations to showcase the preparations it had made through the Covid-19 pandemic.