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Covid-19: EC doubles broadcast time for political parties

The Commission has also banned victory celebrations and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Considering the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact based campaign, Election Commission (EC) on Friday doubled the broadcast time to each national party and recognised state parties on Doordarshan and All India Radio during the ongoing general elections to the Legislative Assembly.

The EC on Saturday banned physical rally and roadshows of political parties till 15 January, considering the pandemic situation in the
country. Announcing the schedule for the assembly polls in five states, chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra said: “No physical rally of political parties or probably candidates or any other group related to elections shall be allowed till January 15. ECI should
subsequently review the situation and issues further instructions accordingly.”

The commissioner said that no roadshows, padyatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions shall be allowed. He further said situation will be reviewed and fresh instructions will be issued later. He also set out stringent Covid guidelines, restricting the number of persons allowed for door-to-door campaigns to five.

Political parties have been asked to provide masks, hand sanitisers to people attending rallies, if they are allowed, the chief election
commissioner said.

The Commission has also banned victory celebrations and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate.

Elections in all five states – Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh — will be completed in seven phases beginning from 10 February.

Uttar Pradesh will go to poll in 7 phases from 10 February to 7 March, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will vote on 14 February and Manipur will vote on 27 February and 3 March.