The Election Commission on Tuesday further eased Covid-induced restrictions imposed on campaigning in assembly polls by allowing road shows with prior permission of district authorities. It also allowed political parties and candidates to hold meetings and rallies with the restriction of using only 50 per cent capacity of space being relaxed.
Campaigning is on for the two-phase Manipur assembly elections and phases five, six and seven of the Uttar Pradesh polls. Elections have concluded in Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Counting in all the five states will take place on March 10.
“The commission has also allowed road shows subject to SDMA regulations and with prior permission of district authorities," a statement said. Citing the rise in Covid cases, the poll panel had imposed a ban on physical rallies, road shows and padayatras when it announced the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8.
The commission has been reviewing the pandemic situation periodically and allowing some relaxations. “Now the commission has allowed the Political parties/candidates to hold their meetings and rallies subject to SDMA regulations. Restriction of using only 50 per cent capacity of space has been relaxed," it said. The poll panel said it took a periodic review of the status of Covid situation in the country and specially in the poll-bound states on Tuesday.
According to updated information received from the Union health secretary, Covid cases have declined significantly (3.47 lakh on January 21, 2022, to just 13,405 as on today) and have come to a minimal level in the country, it said. Even in the reported cases, the maximum number of cases are from non-poll going states, the commission noted. “Specially in the poll-going states of Uttar Pradesh and Manipur, total number of cases which were more than 16.7 thousand at peak on 22nd January, 2022 have come down to just about 500 cases on 22nd February, 2022," it said. Considering the fact that the number of Covid cases have become very small in the poll bound states, the commission, taking into account the need of the political parties and candidates, further relaxes the restrictions on campaigning with the immediate effect…" the statement said.
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