Election Commission of India. (Facebook/@ECI). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, July 16 : After criticism from various political parties, the Election Commission on Thursday said that it has decided not to extend the facility of postal ballot to electors above 65 years of age in the coming Bihar Assembly elections and in bypolls due in near future.

The Commission, in a statement, said that it "has been constantly monitoring the electoral preparedness" for the coming by-elections and the Bihar polls "in view of this unprecedented environment".

"The Commission has already limited the number of electors to one thousand for each polling station for ease of voting, especially for elderly and vulnerable sections of electors, in Covid-19 situations." However, facility of optional postal ballot to electors who are above 80 years of age, disabled voters, the electors engaged in essential services and voters who are Covid- 19 positive/suspect in quarantine will be extended, it said.

The commission said in view of its restrictions on number of voters at a polling station, Bihar is creating approximately 34,000 additional polling stations (45 per cent more), which will increase the total number of polling stations to around 1,06,000.

"This would entail formidable logistical challenges of mobilizing 1.8 lakh more polling personnel and other additional resources including requirement of much larger number of vehicles in the state of Bihar. Similar challenges would be there for the coming by-elections also," it said.

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