The Election Commission of India on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies for the third time by one more week till January 31. The Commission had announced a ban on physical rallies till January 15 while announcing the poll schedule on January 8. The ban was extended by one more week till January 22 due to the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
Earlier today, the Commission had several virtual meetings with the Union Health Secretary and the Chief Health Secretaries of the five poll bound states to decide whether the ban imposed on physical rallies should be lifted or not.
Polling in five states of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to begin from February 10.
However, the extension of ban on Saturday came with certain relaxations as well for the states voting in the First and Second Phase. It has allowed political parties to hold indoor meetings of maximum 500 people or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by the respective State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
It also enhanced the limit of door-to-door campaign where now instead of 5 persons, 10 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door-to-door campaigns.
It further urged political parties and contesting candidates to ensure compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour and guidelines and the Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections.
The voting for the First and Second Phase is scheduled for February 10 and February 14 respectively. Results for all the states will be declared on March 10.