Assembly Election 2022: Will Ban On Election Rallies, Public Meetings Continue? EC To Decide Today
Assembly Elections 2022: The Election Commission of India is likely to take a call on whether to extend the ban on public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings in five poll-bound states beyond January 15 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
New Delhi: The Election Commission will meet on Saturday to take a call on whether to extend beyond January 15 the ban on public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings in five poll-bound states in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision will be taken based on inputs about the spread of the virus and its new variant Omicron, according to reports.
Announcing the schedule of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the panel had taken the unprecedented step of banning public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in view of the pandemic.
The Commission had also listed 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned ‘nukkad sabhas’ (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limited the number of persons allowed for the door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting of votes.
According to reports, the progress on vaccination will be key to allowing rally relaxations. The EC’s aim is to have maximum voters vaccinated before the election is held.
The EC will, therefore, be taking a full review in a virtual meeting with the Union health secretary to get an accurate picture of the situation. While state government feedback has indicated that hospitalisation is low so far on account of Covid-19, the poll panel will seek detailed data from them before deciding on any rally relaxations after January 15.
In a press release on Friday, the EC said that considering the ongoing pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact-based campaign, it has, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation, decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each national party and recognised state party of the five states.
Assembly polls in the five states will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7 and the counting of votes will be on March 10.
On the other hand, the BJP is expected to announce its first list of candidates for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has already announced its 125 candidates, giving tickets to 50 women while the SP-RLD alliance has announced names of 29 candidates, which include 19 from Rashtriya Lok Dal and 10 from Samajwadi Party.
Meanwhile, India recorded 2,64,202 new COVID-19 infections and the country’s active caseload has now increased to 12,72,073. An increase of 1,54,542 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload between Thursday and Friday.