The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday further relaxed Covid-19-induced curbs on the assembly poll campaign in five states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Manipur. It allowed padayatras with a limited number of people and revised the timings of the poll campaign ban period. As per the poll body, the election campaign can now be conducted between 6 am and 10 pm instead of earlier 8 am to 8 pm.
“Ban on campaign timings will be between 10 pm to 6 am instead of 8 pm to 8 am before. Political parties/candidates may campaign from 6 am to 10 pm following all Covid appropriate behavior and protocols of SDMA. Political parties/candidates may hold their meetings and rallies up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of the designated open spaces or the limit prescribed by SDMA, whichever is lesser," stated the order issued by the ECI.
“Padayatra consisting not more than the permitted number of persons as per SDMA limitations and only with the prior permission of district authorities will also be allowed," it added.
Citing the surge in coronavirus cases, the ECI had imposed a ban on physical rallies/meetings, roadshows, and padayatras when it announced the election schedule for five states on January 8. It has been reviewing the Covid-19 pandemic situation periodically and allowing some relaxation accordingly.
The assembly polls began on February 10 and will conclude on March 7. The results will be declared on March 10.
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