In wake of the third wave of Covid-19, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies in the five states going on polls till January 22.
The decision was taken after having virtual meetings with the senior officials of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Chief Electoral Officers of these five poll going States were also present in the virtual meeting.
In its order, the Commission said there would be no road show, Pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession till January 22. The Commission would subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly, said a senior officer of the Election Commission.
The Commission, however, has granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA would be allowed.
The Commission told all political parties to ensure the compliance of COVID appropriate behavior and guidelines and Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections.
In addition to this all remaining restrictions as contained in the Revised Broad Guidelines for Conduct of Elections, 2022 issued on January 8 would continue to operate, the Commission stated.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey accompanied by Secretary General and concerned Deputy Election Commissioners also reviewed the projected trends of COVID pandemic with special focus in the five poll going states.
Vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for 1st, 2nd and booster dose for eligible persons amongst Frontline workers and polling personnel was also reviewed, the officer said.