Election The Election Commission has decided to extend its ban on physical rallies, roadshows and nukkad sabhas in the five poll-bound states till January 22 in light of the Covid-19 situation.
In the meeting, experts and officials, along with leaders and workers of political parties, expressed concern over the apathy and neglect of Covid protocol among the general public and stressed strict adherence to rules. (Getty Image)
The Election Commission (EC) has extended the ban on physical rallies in the five poll-bound states till January 22 in light of the Covid-19 situation. Last week, the EC had imposed a ban on physical rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.
The Union health secretary and the principal health secretaries of the five poll-bound states informed the EC on Saturday that the infection is still spreading.
While the intensity of infection of the Omicron variant is not as deadly as that of Delta, relaxing restrictions would not be appropriate just yet, the Commission was told in a meeting with experts, officials and leaders of political parties.
A decision was then made to extend the ban on rallies and processions at least till next week.
However, the Commission has relaxed some restrictions ahead of Assembly polls in the five states.
- Indoor meetings of a maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA will be allowed.
- Political parties must ensure the compliance of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and guidelines and the Model Code of Conduct on all occasions during poll-related events.
- All remaining restrictions as contained in the Revised Broad Guidelines for Conduct of Elections, 2022 issued on January 8 must continue to be in effect.
In Uttar Pradesh, elections will be held for 403 assembly seats in seven phases from February 10 to March 7.
Elections in 60 constituencies of Manipur will be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3, while polling in Goa (40 seats), Punjab (117 seats) and Uttarakhand (70 seats) will be held on February 14. Counting of votes in all five states will be done on March 10.
The Election Commission also banned victory celebrations in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. Only two persons will be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate, CEC Sushil Chandra had announced at the time of declaring the poll schedule on January 8.
Click here for IndiaToday.in’s complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.