Negative Covid report or two vaccine jabs compulsory for candidates to enter vote counting centres : EC
New Delhi/IBNS: The Election Commission of India has made negative Covdi-19 test or two doses of coronavirus vaccine compulsory for the candidates and their agents who want to enter the vote counting halls in Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry.
In an order issued on Wednesday, the commission banned public gatherings outside the counting centres on May 2 (Sunday) and made a negative RT-PCR test or Rapid Antigen Test report that is not more than 48 hours old or vaccination certificates mandatory for those who wish to be present during the counting of votes.
The candidates will have to provide a list of counting agents at least three days before the day of counting, the order added.
On Tuesday, the ECI banned all victory processions after the declaration of election results in four states and one union territory on May 2 over Covid-19 spike.
"Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorised representative to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned," the Election Commission of India (ECI) said.
The EC's ban came a day after the Madras High Court on Monday held its officers solely responsible for the Covid-19 second wave, which has crippled the country.
The Election Commission has earned massive criticisms over its handling of the elections amid Covid-19 situation.
The campaigns in the poll bound states broke all Covid-19 appropriate protocols with large number of people gathering in places, breaking social distancing norms as various Indian political heavy weights, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various Chief Ministers, addressed massive rallies of thousands of people.
After the Calcutta High Court rapped the poll body over Covid-19 protocols last week, the EC banned rallies of more than 500 people.
In a sign of relief amid the health emergency in the country, the campaign for the last phase of West Bengal elections concluded last evening.