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Assembly Elections 2022: EC grants relaxation for physical public meetings

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New Delhi, Jan 06: As India sees steady decline in Covid-19 cases, the Election Commission on Sunday gave fresh relaxations for indoor and outdoor physical campaigning events for the polls. However, the EC has extended the ban on roadshows, 'pad yatras', cycle and vehicle rallies.

Representational Image

As per the new order, political parties can hold bigger physical campaigning events in the run up to the polls in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.

The campaigning for phase one of Uttar Pradesh assembly election on February 10 ends on February 8 evening.

The Commission allowed opening up of physical campaigning events based on inputs received by state chief secretaries, its observers and the Union Health Ministry.

The Union Health Secretary told the EC on Saturday that the poll-going states are contributing a very small proportion of the total reported COVID-19 cases in the country.

In a statement, the EC said restrictions regarding "outdoor meetings, indoor meetings, rallies" will be further relaxed subject to condition that the number of persons attending these events will be limited to maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of indoor halls and 30 per cent of the open ground capacity or as fixed by district election officer as per requirement of the social distancing norms, and whichever is less.

"If the state disaster management authority has set the ceiling limits or percentage of the capacity for number of persons attending indoor hall or open ground and they are stricter, SDMA guidelines will prevail," the EC said.

"Open ground rallies" can be held only in the grounds specifically designated by the district authorities and subject to compliance of all the conditions of SDMA.

Allocation of these grounds will be given equitably by district administration through e-Suvidha portal on first come first serve basis, the EC pointed out.

Capacities of these grounds will be fixed by the district administration well in advance and notify to all the parties.

"There should be multiple entry and exit points so that there is no crowding as people are coming and leaving the venue. All entrances must have adequate hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions," it said.

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