New Delhi, Jan 31: The Election Commission on Monday further extended the ban on election rallies till February 11 in the five poll-bound states.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey held a comprehensive review of the current Covid-19 situation, particularly in the election-bound states. After a virtual meeting with Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers of the five states, the EC decided to extend the ban on roadshows, padyatras, bike-cycle rallies and processions till February 11.
It has now decided to allow physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 1000 persons (instead of existing 500 persons) or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from February 1 for all phases, a state from the commission said.
The Commission has also enhanced the limit for door to door campaigns. Instead of 10 persons, now 20 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door to door campaigns.
The Commission has now granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of a maximum of 500 persons (instead of existing 300 persons) or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA is allowed.
However, the DEO concerned has been directed to identify and notify the designated spaces in advance for the aforesaid purposes.
In addition to it, political parties and contestants should ensure the compliance of COVID appropriate behaviour and guidelines and Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections, the EC said.
In view of rising Omicron variant of Covid-19 cases, the EC had imposed a ban on physical rallies and roadshows on January 8 till January 15 and it later extended till January 22.
Following this the ECI met once again and extended the ban until January 31. However, it allowed public meetings with a maximum of 500 people in the constituencies that are going to polls in the first two phases.
The ECI however relaxed norms when it came to door-to-door campaigning.
The elections will be held in seven phases starting February 10 and counting will take place on March 10.