Friday, January 28, 2022

Elections 2022: EC extends ban on political rallies and roadshows in poll-bound states till January 22

Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12:06
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The Election Commission on Saturday further extended the ban on election rallies, roadshows and similar physical campaigning events till January 22 in view of rising COVID-19 cases.

The poll body, however, allowed political parties to hold indoor meetings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall. It also asked parties to strictly adhere to the guidelines of Model Code of Conduct and COVID protocol.

The Election Commission made the decision after holding meetings with Union health secretary and chief secretaries of the five poll-bound states to decide on “any relaxation” on public rallies.

Announcing the schedule of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the panel had taken the unprecedented step of banning public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in view of the pandemic.

The Commission had also listed 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned ‘nukkad sabhas’ (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limited the number of persons allowed for the door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting of votes.

In a press release on Friday, the EC said that considering the ongoing pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact-based campaign, it has, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation, decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each national party and recognised state party of the five states.

Assembly polls in the five states will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7 and the counting of votes will be on March 10. While UP will vote in seven phases, Manipur will vote in two phases, whereas Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand will go to polls in single phases.

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