To contain further spreading of COVID-19, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday issued revised norms about visits of star campaigners in Bihar Assembly and other ongoing & expected elections in future during this unprecedented period.
ECI spokesperson said that the EC has set the limit on the number of star campaigners for recognized national/state political parties, which would be 30 star campaigners in place of 40 after reviewing the probable threat of spreading of the virus. He said that the maximum limit of star campaigners will be 15 in place of 20 for unrecognized registered political parties. The commission revised the period of submission of the list of star campaigners from 7 to 10 days from the date of notification. “Political parties, which have already submitted a list of star campaigners, can resubmit a revised list within the stipulated period,” he added.
Divulging further, the Spokesperson said that requests for permission for the campaigning by star campaigners, should be submitted to the district election authorities at least 48 hours before the start of the campaign so that all necessary safety measures are put in place well in time. The ECI delegation which went to Bihar to oversee the preparedness of polling was informed about the matter of large gatherings during the visit of star campaigners. He said the matter was thoroughly deliberated in the meeting of the commission today. After considering all facts and circumstances emerging due to pandemic and keeping a balance between the requirements of a campaign by the political parties, the Commission has decided to revisit the norms about star campaigners.
Elaborating more, the Spokesperson added that the expenditure incurred on campaigning by such campaigners is exempted from being added to the election expenditure of a particular candidate.