Will election rallies return? EC to decide today
New Delhi, Jan 22: The Election Commission will meet on Saturday to decide whether the ban imposed by it on physical rallies and roadshows to prevent the spread of coronavirus should continue.
Announcing dates for elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the poll panel had announced a ban on physical rallies, road and bike shows, and similar campaigning events till January 15.
On January 15, the Commission extended the ban until January 22.
It had, however, granted a relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of maximum 300 people or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall, or the prescribed limit set by state disaster management authorities can be held.
The poll panel will hold a series of virtual meets on Saturday to seek inputs from the Union Health Ministry, experts, the five poll-bound states and respective state chief electoral officers to arrive at a decision.
The poll watchdog directed political parties to ensure the compliance of Covid- appropriate behaviour and guidelines and Model Code of Conduct during the activities connected with elections.
The poll panel directed state and district administrations to ensure compliance of all instructions related to the poll code and to the pandemic control measures.
The Commission had also listed out 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned 'nukkad sabhas' (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limited the number of persons allowed for door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting on votes.