EC Ban On Physical Rallies, Roadshows To Continue, Relaxation For Public Meetings

As the nation persists to struggle with an increase in Covid-19 circumstances, the Electoral Commission on Saturday stretched the prohibition on campaign events and roadshows in the 5 election-bound provinces until the 31st of January, whereas making specific exemptions for applicants going to contest in the 1st and second phases of the polls. Public meetings are limited to five hundred persons.

Following consultations with the Secretary, Administration of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as well as the Health Secretaries, Chief Secretaries, and Chief Electoral Officers, and of Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, and Punjab, the Committee has decided to loosen up a few of the rules for candidates running in the 1st phase on the 10th of February and the 2nd phase on the 14th of February.

Aspirants in Uttar Pradesh, that would ballot in the initial round, would now be permitted to have physical gatherings in specified open places with a total capacity of 500 persons or 50 per cent of the stadium's occupancy, but only from the 28th of January to the 8th of February.

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According to the release, because contending parties for Phase 1 polls would be confirmed on the 27th of January, 2022, the Council has agreed to permit physical public gatherings of political groups or competing candidates in authorized open spaces with a peak value of 500 persons or 50 per cent of the occupancy of the ground or the specified limit imposed by SDMA, whichever is smaller, from 28th of January, 2022 to the 8th of February, 2022, except the quiet period.

Similar exemptions have been granted for the second round of the elections, which will take place on the 14th of February in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Goa. From the 1st of February, 2022 through the 12th of February 12, 2022, the updated guidelines will be in effect for second-phase applicants.

Last Monday, the election monitor eased the rules a little, allowing indoor gatherings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the conference hall's occupancy, or restrictions imposed by the state disaster management authority.

The Council has also increased the door-to-door campaigning limit. Rather than five people, a total of ten people, excluding security officers, would be permitted to conduct a door-to-door operation. The Commission also has allowed multimedia vans for marketing in voting states with the regular Covid-19 restrictions at defined open locations with a limitation of 500 spectators or 50 per cent of occupancy, whichever one is less, subject to public pleasure and no interference to ordinary traffic flow.

After consulting with health agencies and other experts from throughout the country, the Commission decided to give public gatherings more latitude. According to the EC, Chief Electoral Commissioner Sushil Chandra, election commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Rajiv Kumar, as well as the responsible Deputy Election Commissioners and Secretary-General managed to hold a thorough review of the current scenario regarding the prestige and predicted patterns of the Covid-19 flu epidemic in the five polling states.