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Covid protocols for rallies: State CEO calls all-party meet

KOLKATA: The State Chief Electoral officer Aariz Aftab has called for an urgent all-party meeting with all the state and national political parties on Friday in connection with guidelines for campaigning with Covid-19 positive cases showing a steep rise in the state.

The Commission's initiative comes in the wake of Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directing the district administration and the state CEO to take necessary measures so that the guidelines laid down by the Election Commission in connection with Covid related health protocols are strictly adhered to.

The CEO has communicated the matter to all the concerned political parties and has asked them to send only one representative for the purpose.

The Election Commission has conducted a video conference with all the District Magistrates and the Superintendent of Police of the poll-bound districts in the coming phases of elections and asked them to speak to the district level leaders so that they maintain the Covid protocol like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

The Commission has also asked the district administration to be strict and directed them to implement all the Covid norms strictly.

"If the political parties don't abide by the rules and regulation laid down by the Commission then the district administration has been directed to stop the political rallies if needed," a senior Commission official in the state said.

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the district administration and the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to take necessary measures.

The High Court has also given permission to the administration for resorting to the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 for enforcement of social distancing to check the transmission of the virus.

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