State polls: EC allows padyatras, rallies with cap on attendance as Covid eases

Updated on Feb 12, 2022 08:14 PM IST
Assembly elections: The Election Commission issued the latest easing of restrictions in the wake of an improvement in the pandemic situation.
File photo of a gathering for election campaigning. 
File photo of a gathering for election campaigning. 
By, New Delhi

The Election Commission on Saturday allowed ‘padyatra’ (foot marches) in election-bound states in accordance with guidelines of the respective State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs).

The commission took a periodic review of the Covid-19 pandemic status in the country, especially in the poll-bound states. The polling body issued the latest easing of restrictions in the wake of a significant improvement in the pandemic situation.

The EC said political parties/candidates can campaign from 6am to 10pm, instead of earlier 8am to 8pm, following all extant instructions. 

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They can campaign with a maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of a designated open space or the limit prescribed by SDMA, whichever is less. Padyatras can be held with limited number of people as set by the SDMA.

All other existing provisions related to electioneering shall continue to operate, the EC said.

Assembly elections are being held in phases in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa and will continue till March 7. Results of the elections will be declared on March 7.

Citing the rise in Covid-19 cases, the poll panel had imposed a ban on physical rallies, roadshows and padayatras when it announced the poll schedule for the five state on January 8.

The commission has since been reviewing the pandemic situation periodically and allowing some relaxations.

Hectic campaigning has been underway in most of the states with top leaders of all political parties crisscrossing the states and holding massive gatherings. 

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