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Election Commission extends ban on physical poll rallies till January 31

New Delhi, January 22

The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it has decided to extend the ban on physical rallies and road shows till January 31, but a few concessions have been granted for physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates for phase 1 from January 28, 2022 and for phase 2 from February 1, 2022.

More to it the poll panel has increased the limit of five persons for door-to-door campaigns from five persons to 10. The poll Commission today held a review meeting with the Health Secretary, Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers and Health Secretaries of poll-bound Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey accompanied by Secretary General and concerned Deputy Election Commissioners held a comprehensive review of the present situation with respect to status and projected trends of COVID pandemic in the five poll going states, the poll panel said in an official statement.

The Commission also reviewed vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for 1st, 2nd and booster dose for eligible persons amongst polling personnel, it said.

“The Commission deliberated on relaxing restrictions for physical rallies in the wake of prevailing situation. 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 finalised on January 27, for Phase I and on January 31 for Phase 2,” it said.

The Commission decided to allow physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50 percent of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, the poll panel said.

The Commission has also allowed video vans for publicity with usual COVID restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50 percent of the capacity, it further said.

Political parties and contesting candidates shall ensure the compliance of COVID appropriate behaviour and guidelines and Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections. It shall be the responsibility of the concerned officer to identify and to notify the designated spaces in advance for the aforesaid purposes, it said.

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