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‘Social media platforms should make adequate arrangements to safeguard against misuse’: ECI

‘They should set up strict protocols to handle such issues as and when they arise,’ it said.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday while announcing the schedule for the Bihar Assembly elections said that social media platforms are expected to make adequate arrangements to safeguard against misuse.

“The social media platforms are expected to make adequate arrangements to safeguard against misuse of their platforms and set up strict protocols to handle such issues as and when they arise,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

“Bihar to vote in 3 phases on 28th October, 3rd and 7th November; results on 10th November,” he told.

“To further decongest polling stations and allow more free movement of voters, polling time has been increased by 1 hour. It’ll be held from 7 am-6 pm, instead of 7 am-5 pm earlier. However, this will not be applicable to Left-wing affected areas,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said told.

For the quarantined coronavirus patients, the ECI has allowed the casting of votes on the last day of poll.

“Covid patients who’re quarantined will be able to cast their vote on the last day of poll, at their respective polling stations, under the supervision of health authorities,” CEC said.

“This is beside the option of postal facility already extended to them,” he added.

“The term of assembly in the state of Bihar is due to expire on 29th November, 2020. Bihar assembly has a strength of 243 members, of whom 38 seats are reserved for SCs and two for STs,” he told.

“As days and months passed and Covid-19 showed no signs of abetting, it was realised that some way would have to be found to balance the democratic rights of the electorate while also making sincere & systematic efforts to protect health and safety of people,” he said.

Last month, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a petition seeking postponement of the Bihar Assembly elections due to the spread of coronavirus.

The apex court had said that the petition is premature as the Election Commission of India is yet to declare the schedule for the Bihar Assembly elections.

Prior to this, the Election Commission had already issued the broad guidelines for the conduct of the election.

With the outbreak of the pandemic, the ECI had sought suggestions of the National/State Political Parties for the conduct of elections.