Dated: April 16th, 2021
For the ongoing West Bengal Assembly Election-2021, invoking its powers under Article 324, the Commission
(1) curtails the timing of campaign upto 7 PM. There shall not be any campaign between 7PM and 10AM on campaign day.
(2) extends the silence period from 48 hours to 72 hours in each of the remaining three phases.
Commission also directs the political parties/candidates to provide masks, sanitizers, etc. to the participants and account for the cost in expenditure limits.
In view of unprecedented public health situation and the imperative of ongoing elections, Commission today extended the silence period upto 72 hours (instead of 48 hours) and restricted the period of campaign upto 7PM (instead of 10PM). These orders have come into effect immediately.
Commission further directed all the political parties to adhere to the COVID norms/instructions. It has directed:
Candidates and Political Parties shall ensure absolute, repeat absolute, adherence to Covid guidelines in letter and sprit. Violations, if any, shall be sternly dealt with and action, including criminal action, taken as per extant legal framework.
It shall be the responsibility of the organisers of public meetings, rallies, etc. to provide masks and sanitisers to every person attending these meetings, rallies, etc at their cost which shall be added and counted within limits of prescribed expenditure. Organisers shall also ensure proper usage of masks, sanitisers and also be responsible for maintaining minimum social distance by everyone.
Star campaigners/political leaders/candidates/aspiring policy makers shall demonstrate by their personal example and nudge all supporters in the beginning of the rally, meeting and any other event during campaign to wear mask, use sanitisers and maintain social distance and put in place such crowd control measures as are necessary for observance of extant guidelines.
District Election Officers and Returning Officers shall take strict measures to enforce Covid guidelines during campaign. They shall cancel public meetings, rallies, etc. if any violations are observed, in addition to invoking penal sections.
Special Observers and General, Police and Expenditure Observers shall strictly monitor compliance of covid norms during campaign.
The Commission has directed that Chief Secretary, West Bengal, CEO, West Bengal, all DEOs and ROs of the remaining three phases shall ensure strict compliance of this order and enforcement of extant guidelines. Special observers and other district/ constituency (ies) level observers shall regularly monitor compliance.
The copies of the Order, dated 16.04.2021 issued under Art 324 of the Constitution of India as well as the letter, dated 16.04.2021 issued to the Political Parties, are enclosed, which are self explanatory