Covid-19 patients of Odisha will be able to vote in the by-elections to the two assembly seats of Balasore and Jagatsinghpur districts.  After a meeting with collectors and police chiefs of both the districts, Chief Electoral Officer SK Lohani said that COVID-19 patients will be allowed to cast their vote during the last hour of the poll. There will also be an isolation centre for the infected voters.

Balasore in Balasore district and Tirtol in Jagatsinghpur district will go to polls as their MLAs passed away. While Balasore Sadar seat was won by BJP in the last polls,  Tirtol seat was held by the BJD.

In order to ensure social distancing, there will be a capping of 1000 voters per booth, said Lohani. Auxiliary polling booths will be created in case the polling station has above 1000 voters. This has to be done by District Election Officers (DEOs) in consultation with the political parties’ representatives, CEO said.

Voters have to abide by the COVID-19 guidelines and wear a mask while coming to vote. They also have to sanitise hands and maintain social distancing in the polling stations.

“Extensive awareness drive on mask wearing, hand sanitizing, social distancing and thermal screening of voters as well as polling personnel, appointment of Nodal Heath Officer at district and constituency level, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic during bye-election would be given top priority,” said Lohani.