Preparations for holding RS election in Meghalaya amid COVID- 19 crisis

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Shillong: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, staggered entry of voters, use of gloves and masks besides social distancing will be strictly maintained during the June 19 Rajya Sabha election in Meghalaya, Chief Electoral Officer of the state F R Kharkongor said on Wednesday.

Thermal screening and proper respiratory etiquettes have to be followed within the polling station and during trainings, he said.

Pre-COVID-19 election procedures, protocols and processes have been revisited and preparations are being taken by adhering to coronavirus containment protocols to reduce person-to-person contact, he said.

“This will be the states first election held in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic and all steps are being taken to ensure that necessary safeguards as per protocol are in place,” Kharkongor told PTI.

The state election department had its first hands-on training for the exercise on Tuesday.

“Arrangements are being made at the polling station where a senior Nodal Medical Health Officer will oversee whether the safety protocols are in place,” Kharkongor said.

Stickers and posters, on the guidelines to be followed, have been placed at all strategic locations within the polling station, he said.

Contingency plans for an alternative location has been drawn up and the Shillong Municipal Board will sanitise the entire premises of the polling station a day prior to the election.

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) had put forth the name of NPP state president W R Kharlukhi as the consensus candidate of the ruling coalition for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state.

The opposition Congress has fielded former legislator Kennedy Khyriem for the seat.

The ruling MDA constitutes NPP, United Democratic Party, Peoples Democratic Front, BJP, Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, NCP and three Independents.

The Congress has 19 legislators in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. PTI

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