Assembly polls: Election Commission to review ban on physical rallies, roadshows today
Five states headed for polls include Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.
As the country battles with the third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Election Commission of India (ECI) will meet on Monday to assess the pandemic situation and decide whether the ban on conducting the physical rallies will continue in the five states headed for polls, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Previously, the poll panel had extended the ban on physical rallies and road shows in the five poll-bound states till January 31.
Monday's meeting will take place virtually at 11am, and is expected to be attended by poll-bound states' chief electoral officers and health secretaries.
A report in news agency PTI stated that the poll panel will also take a call on whether to extend fresh relaxations to political parties and candidates in holding physical campaigning events.
The commission had on January 8 imposed a ban on physical rallies and roadshows in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in the country as it announced the election schedule for the poll-bound states. It had initially barred rallies from January 8 till January 15, but later extended the ban by a week till January 22.
It later followed up with a review meeting on January 22 and extended the ban till January 31 in the five states but allowed public meetings with a maximum of 500 people in the constituencies going to polls in the first two phases and relaxed door-to-door campaign rules.
Since then, the poll panel is holding regular meetings to ensure that the infection does not spread while the parties get an opportunity to hold physical campaigning in the restricted format.
Five states headed for polls include Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur. The elections will be held in seven phases starting February 10 while the counting of votes will take place on March 10.