Thu, 19 May 2022

New Delhi [India], January 22 (ANI): Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Election Commission of India on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31, said a press release by the Election Commission.

But the Election Commission has enhanced the limit of persons for door-to-door campaign from 5 to 10 persons, as per the statement.

Meanwhile, the commission has permitted video vans for publicity at designated open spaces with COVID-19 restrictions.

The decision came after the Election Commission of India held a meeting earlier in the day with the Union Health Secretary and the Chief Health Secretaries of the five poll-bound states to review the ban on holding physical roadshows and rallies by political parties ahead of Assembly elections.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar, Anup Chandra Pandey, Secretary General, and concerned Deputy Election Commissioners also held a comprehensive review of the present situation with respect to status and projected trends of COVID-19 pandemic in the five poll going states, said a press release by Election Commission of India.

Commission also deliberated on requirements of the campaign period in phases where candidate list will be finalised on January 27, 2022 for Phase I and on January 31, 2022 for Phase 2, added the press release.

Besides extending ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31, Commission has also decided the following:- Since contesting candidates for Phase 1 elections will be finalised on January 27, 2022,Commission has decided to allow physical public meetings of political parties or contestingcandidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50 per cent of thecapacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser,from January 28, 2022 till February 8, 2022 (excluding the silence period).

- Since contesting candidates for Phase 2 elections will be finalised on January 31 2022, Commission has decided to allow physical public meetings of Political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from February 1, 2022 till February 12, 2022 (excluding the silence period).

- Commission has already granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoormeetings of a maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA is allowed.

- Political parties and contesting candidates shall ensure the compliance of COVID appropriate behaviourguidelines and Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections.

- It shall be the responsibility of the DEO concerned to identify and to notify the designated spaces in advance for the aforesaid purposes.

- All remaining restrictions as contained in the Revised Broad Guidelines for Conduct of Elections, 2022 issued on 8 January 2022 shall continue to operate, as per the press release.

As of today, India reported 3,37,704 fresh COVID cases (9,550 more than yesterday) and 2,42,676 recoveries and 488 deaths in the last 24 hours. Total 21,13,365 active cases are in the country with a daily positivity rate of 17.22 per cent.

Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa are heading into Assembly polls.The Election Commission's aim is to have maximum voters vaccinated before the elections held in these particular states. (ANI)

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