Dates for elections in UP, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur out
The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced the schedule for Assembly elections in five states. Polls are due to be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur. As many as 690 constituencies will go to the polls and a total of 18.34 crore electors will take part in these elections. Votes for all state elections will be counted on March 10.
Election schedule for UP
Elections in UP will be held in seven phases for 403 Assembly seats. The phases will be conducted on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3, and March 7. The UP elections are often seen as indicative of the nation's mood for the general elections as the state sends the highest number of members (80) to the Lok Sabha.
Election schedule for Punjab
Elections in Punjab will be held in a single phase for 117 Assembly seats. The date of the election is February 14. Punjab is set for a multifaceted contest among several political parties and alliances. The ruling Congress is fighting to retain power even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Akali Dal, and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Punjab Lok Congress alliance pose a challenge.
Election schedule for Uttarakhand
Elections in Uttarakhand will also be held in a single phase on February 14 to elect representatives for 70 state Assembly seats. The state is currently ruled by the BJP and the party has changed Chief Ministers in quick succession over the past few years. The current state CM is Pushkar Singh Dhami. In Uttarakhand, no party has won back-to-back elections.
Election schedule for Manipur and Goa
Polls in Goa will be held on February 14. Multiple parties including the BJP, Congress, AAP, Trinamool Congress, as well as regional parties are fielding candidates in the coastal state. Meanwhile, in Manipur, votes will be cast in two phases, on February 27 and March 3. Nongthombam Biren Singh of the BJP serves as the current CM of the north eastern state.
Major measures announced by EC
All election officials must be fully vaccinated and will also be given booster doses. Timings for casting votes have been increased by one hour to improve social distancing. Political parties and candidates have been advised to carry out digital campaigns in place of physical events. No roadshows or similar processions will be allowed until at least January 15.
COVID-19 situation in India
The election schedule has been announced after EC officials held a series of meetings with central government officers over the COVID-19 situation. On Saturday morning, India added 1,41,986 new COVID-19 cases, recorded over the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, the country has also reported more than 3,000 cases of the Omicron variant, which has been detected in 27 states.