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Kerala Assembly polls: Chief Electoral Officer explains guidelines related to submission of nomination, campaign

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 March 2021, 9:25 IST

Ahead of the Assembly election in Kerala, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Tikaram Meena on Saturday called a meeting of political parties to explain the guidelines related to the submission of nomination and the poll campaign.

The Chief Electoral Officer directed the political parties that campaigning must be conducted in compliance with COVID-19 protocols and a limited number of vehicles can be used for rallies.

Meena also explained the procedures of the postal voting facility for the election.

"Postal voting facility can be availed by persons with disabilities, persons above 80 years of age and those suffering from coronavirus disease or with suspected disease. It is also available for those who come under the 16 essential service sectors of election duty," the CEO said during the meeting.

"And those interested in postal voting can avail this facility also," he added.

However, the copies of the Malayalam version of the handbook also released by the CEO with detailed COVID-19 guidelines and were given to the leaders who attended the meeting.

Meena also mentioned that campaign materials and boards should be prepared in compliance with the green protocols.

"Do not use PVC fluxes, banners, boards or plastic flagpoles for advertisements. Only banners and boards made of recyclable materials such as cotton cloth, paper and polyethene should be used in the election campaign," the CEO directed.

He also added that when printing such material it is mandatory to include the logo of recyclable, PVC free, last date of use, and the name of the printing company and printing number.

"Reusable campaign materials should be collected by the respective political parties after use and handed over to Clean Kerala Limited, a government company, through the volunteers of Haritha Karma Sena of the local bodies," the CEO further said.

Asserting that there is also a facility to submit nomination papers online, the CEO said that candidates should mention their criminal background along with the document.

"Candidates should mention their criminal background along with the document. Political parties should also explain why they could not find a candidate without a criminal background," he said.

Furthermore, the ECO added that the explanation should be published in the newspapers, social media and on the party website within 48 hours of the nomination or two weeks before the receipt of the nomination whichever comes first.

"Confirmation in this regard should be given to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting the candidate," he added.

Explaining the procedure, he further said that the details of the candidates' crimes and cases should be published in the media three times.

"The first phase should be advertised within the first four days of withdrawal date and the second phase within the next five to eight days. The third step is to advertise from the ninth day to the last day of the campaign," he said.

The CEO also reminded the political parties not to try to encourage bogus voting. He said there would be strong action if there any attempt to rig the vote.

Leaders of various political parties attended the meeting. Social distancing was strictly observed during the meetings and only a limited number of people attended the meetings in auditoriums and places designated for meetings.

The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.


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First published: 14 March 2021, 9:25 IST