NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31 but gave some relaxation for physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates for Phase 1 of the elections from January 28 and Phase 2 from February 1. It also enhanced the limit of five persons for door-to-door campaigning to 10.
The decision to extend the ban was taken following a review meeting it had with the union health secretary, chief secretaries, chief electoral officers and the health secretaries of the five poll-bound states After taking into consideration the inputs and ground reports from these officers, the commission deliberated on requirements of the campaign period in phases where candidate lists will be finalised on January 27 for Phase I and on January 31 for Phase 2.
The commission decided to allow physical public meetings in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by state disaster management authorities, whichever is fewer.
The commission has also allowed video vans for publicity with usual Covid restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50% of the capacity or the limit.
Political parties and contesting candidates shall ensure the compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour and guidelines and the model code of conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections. It shall be the responsibility of the officer concerned to identify and notify the designated spaces in advance for the aforesaid purposes, the EC said.
The commission also reviewed the vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for first, second and booster doses for eligible persons among polling personnel. The commission deliberated on relaxing restrictions for physical rallies in the wake of prevailing situation.
Chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra along with election commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey accompanied by secretary general and concerned deputy election commissioners participated in the review meeting. The present situation with respect to the status and projected trends of the Covid-19 pandemic were discussed.
Relaxations in place for parties, candidates
- Public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50% of the capacity of the ground, whichever is less
- Video vans for publicity with Covid restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50% of the capacity or the limit
- Enhanced the limit of door to door campaign, instead of 5 persons, now 10 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door to door campaigns
- Indoor meetings of a maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall
Covid projections taken into account
The EC reviewed vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for first, second and booster doses for eligible persons amongst polling personnel. It also checked status and projected trends of the Covid pandemic.