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Elections 2022: EC Extends Ban On Rallies, Roadshows In Five Poll-Bound States Till January 22


New Delhi: The Election Commission of India on Saturday extended the ban imposed on physical rallies and roadshows in five poll-bound states till January 22.

However, it has granted relaxation for the political parties to hold indoor meetings of a maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA.

“ECI directs political parties to adhere to the provisions of MCC and the broad guidelines of COVID. ECI directs State/ District Administration to ensure compliance of all instructions related to MCC and COVID,” the Election Commission stated on Twitter.

Last week, while announcing the schedule of elections to five states (Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand), the Election Commission had banned all such rallies and public meetings till January 15.

This comes as sources in the Election Commission said an order extending the ban on physical rallies would be issued on Friday evening or on Saturday.

Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will vote on February 14 and Manipur will vote on February 27 and March 3. Counting of votes will be done on March 10.

At the press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had urged political parties to shift to digital mode of campaigning and announced the doubling of air time allocated to political parties on public broadcaster Doordarshan for electioneering.

Listing out 16-point guidelines for campaigning, the EC banned ‘nukkad sabhas’ (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts and limited the number of persons allowed for the door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate.

The commission also banned victory celebrations after counting of votes and said only two persons would be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate. 

“The Commission will not hesitate to bar parties from further rallies if the Covid protocol is not followed,” Chandra had said.

Chandra said the polling time has been increased by one hour and the number of electors per polling station has been reduced to 1,250 from 1,500.

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