EC continues ban on rallies, eases restrictions for public meetings
The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday said that the ban on physical rallies in poll-bound states will continue. However, it eased restrictions for indoor and outdoor public meetings. A 50% crowd is permitted for indoor meetings, and a 30% crowd is allowed for outdoor meetings. EC held a meeting with the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Saturday to assess the situation.
Why does this story matter?
The development comes just a few days ahead of the first phase of Assembly elections in five states—Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Goa, and Uttarakhand. The announcement was made in light of a continuous decline in COVID-19 infection rates and an increase in vaccinations in the country. Earlier, on January 31, the EC extended the ban on poll rallies till February 11.
EC releases official statement
"Restrictions regarding outdoor meeting/indoor meetings/rallies will be further relaxed subject to condition that the number of persons attending the indoor/outdoor meetings/rallies will be limited to maximum of 50% of the capacity of Indoor halls and 30% of the open ground capacity or as fixed by DEO as per requirement of the social distancing norms and whichever is less," said the EC in a statement.
Ban on campaign between 8pm-8am to continue: EC
"Ban on roadshows, pad-yatras, cycle/bike/vehicle rallies will remain as before. The maximum number of persons permissible for door-to-door campaigning fixed at 20 will also remain as before. Ban on campaign between 8 pm and 8 am will also continue as before," the EC said.
Elections to be held in five states
Elections in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted in seven phases beginning February 10. Voting in Punjab will be held on February 20 in a single phase. Goa and Uttarakhand will go to poll in a single phase on February 14. Voting in Manipur will be conducted in two phases starting February 27. The results in all states will be announced on March 10.