In wake of the growing number of Covid-19 cases during the third wave, the Election Commission of India on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31 in the five poll-bound states UP, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Manipur.
According to ECI, political parties or contesting candidates can also not hold a physical roadshow, Pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally, and procession till January 31. The Commission would subsequently review the situation and decide on its future course of action after January 31, said a senior officer of the Election Commission of India.
The Commission, however, increased the limit of door-to-door campaigns from five persons to 10 persons excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door-to-door campaigns. The Commission also allowed video vans for publicity with usual COVID restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50 % of the capacity or the limit set by SDMA.
The decision to this effect was taken this evening by the Election Commission of India (ECI) after reviewing the situation with the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through virtual mode. The Commission also held separate virtual meetings with Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers, and Health Secretaries of all poll-bound states said a senior officer of the ECI.
“After taking into consideration inputs and ground reports from these officers, the Commission also deliberated on requirements of the campaign period in phases where candidate list will be finalized on January 27 for Phase 1 and on January 31 for Phase 2,” the Commission said.
“Since contesting candidates for Phase 1 elections will be finalized on January 27 Commission has decided to allow physical meetings of concerned Political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from January 28 till February,” the ECI said.
Similarly, the contesting candidates for Phase 2 would be allowed physical meetings of concerned Political parties or contesting candidates with the public in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, from February 1 till February 12.