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.
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.
The Election commission had put a ban on election rallies and roadshows until January 15 first and later extended till January 22. The progress on vaccination will be a key factor in allowing relaxations.
The apex poll body has given relaxation for physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates for Phase 1 allowed from January 28 and for Phase 2 from February 1. It said that limit of five persons for door to door campaign has been enhanced to 10 persons, excluding security personnel and video vans for publicity permitted at designated open spaces with COVID restrictions. Other instructions on door to door campaigns will continue.
The Election Commission of India today held a review meeting with the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India through virtual mode. The Commission also held virtual meetings with Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers and Health Secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Since contesting candidates for Phase 1 elections will be finalised on January 27, the 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 per cent of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from January 28 till February 8 (excluding the silence period).
Since contesting candidates for Phase 2 elections will be finalised on January 31, the Commission has decided to allow physical meetings of concerned political parties or contesting candidates with public 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 till February 12 (excluding the silence period).
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.