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Election Commission to review ban on physical rallies, roadshows today

Election Commission of India building.

While the country fights the third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Election Commission of India (ECI) will meet on Monday to assess the pandemic situation and decide whether the ban on holding physical rallies in the five poll bound states including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will be maintained.

The news: The restriction for physical demonstrations and roadshows in the five voting-bound states had previously been extended by the poll panel until January 31.

  • The conference will take place virtually with chief electoral officers and health secretaries from poll-bound states likely to join.
  • According to a news agency, the poll panel will also decide whether to grant further relaxations to political parties and candidates when it comes to hosting physical campaigning events.

What’s going on: As it issued the election timetable for the poll-bound states on January 8, the commission put a restriction on physical rallies and roadshows in light of the mounting COVID-19 instances in the country. Rallies were initially prohibited from taking place from January 8 to 15, but the restriction was then extended for another week, until January 22.

  • It then held a review conference on January 22 and extended the prohibition in the five states until January 31, but allowed public gatherings with a limit of 500 persons in the constituencies that were up for election in the first two stages and modified door-to-door campaign guidelines.
  • Since then, the poll panel has met on a regular basis to ensure that the infection does not spread and that the parties have the opportunity to engage in limited physical campaigning.

Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur are among the five states that will vote. Starting on February 10, the elections will be held in seven phases, with the results being announced on March 10.

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