New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday revised its guidelines for 12 states where elections are scheduled to be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed political rallies to be conducted in these states “with immediate effect”. Also Read - Half of Indians May Have Had Coronavirus by February 2021, Says Govt Panel

The MHA had, on September 30, issued poll guidelines restricting any kind of gathering till October 15. Also Read - 'Global Pandemic Made us Realise Importance of Technology, Teamwork': PM Modi at Grand Challenges Meet

“Now, therefore, in exercising the powers conferred under Section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, it is decided that the state governments concerned may permit political gatherings outside containment zones beyond the existing limit of 100 persons on any date before October 15, 2020, in those assembly/ parliamentary constituencies only where elections are to be held subject to the following conditions,” the order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla stated. Also Read - Marijuana Ingredient, CBD Helps Reduce Lung Damage From COVID-19, Here's How

The announcement comes in the middle of preparations for the Bihar Assembly Elections and might even affect the political parties who were not allowed to campaign thus far. The three-phased Bihar assembly elections will begin from October 27.

Other states going for bypolls in Lok Sabha or assembly seats include Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha.

As per the conditions, for holding political gatherings in closed spaces, a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity will be allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons and wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizers will be mandatory.

In open spaces, the political gatherings could be keeping in view the size of the ground or space with strict observance of social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizers.