To ensure distancing norms during the counting of votes in Bihar, the Election Commission has issued guidelines which include reduction in the number of counting tables along with an increase in the number of counting halls to ensure that results are not delayed. The EC said no more than seven counting tables, instead of 14 counting tables, should be allowed in a counting hall. "Hence, counting of votes of a constituency may be considered at 3-4 halls by appointing additional assistant returning officers," the EC said on Friday.
The counting of votes will take place on November 10 for the three-phase elections. According to guidelines, strong rooms should be sanitised before storing the EVMs used in elections.
It has also directed that carrying cases of EVMs and paper trail machines should be sanitised before placing them over counting tables. The results from the control units should be displayed on a large screen to avoid accommodation of a large number of counting agents. One control unit and at least one ballot unit makes for one EVM.
If required, postal ballots may also be counted in a separate hall under the supervision of the returning officer or the assistant returning officer, it said. Like in the past, the commission has roped in Investigation Directorate of the Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND), DRI, RPF, Commercial Tax Department and Narcotics Control Bureau to monitor election expenditure of candidates and to prevent misuse of money power to influence voters.
The Investigation Directorate of Income Tax Department has been asked to activate Air Intelligence Units in the airports of Bihar and also to gather intelligence and take necessary action to check movement of large sums of money in the state, the commission said.