The new orders came shortly after the campaigning for the 70 assembly seats of Uttarakhand going to polls on February 14 came to an end
New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has relaxed the ban on pad-yatras and physical rallies by political candidates in the five states that are going for assembly polls. The ECI has said that the political parties and the candidates can now campaign from 6 am till 10 pm following all extant instructions and can hold rallies in open spaces with a maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of the designated open spaces. Pad-Yatra with a limited number of persons, with prior permission from State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is also allowed now.
The new orders came shortly after the campaigning for the 70 assembly seats of Uttarakhand going to polls on February 14 came to an end on Saturday.
The ECI said it took a periodic review of the status of COVID-19 in the country and specially in the poll bound States, on Saturday. “As per information received from the Union Health Secretary the ground situation of COVID has significantly improved and the cases are fast receding in the country. Even in the reported cases maximum cases are reported from non-poll going States. The poll going states are contributing a very small proportion of the total reported cases in the country,” ECI said in a statement. It added all India figures of the Covid-19 cases are fast receding from around 3.47 lakh on January 21 to just about 50,000 on Saturday. Especially in the Poll going states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, the total number of cases which were more than 32,000 at peak on January 22 have come down to around 3,000 on February 12.
“The Commission took note of substantial reduction in COVID-19 cases in the country as well as in the poll bound States. Based on the facts and circumstances, need of the political parties and candidates for greater participation in elections, the Commission with immediate effect further relaxes the provisions of campaigning,” ECI said.
Accordingly, the ban on campaign timings will be between 10 pm to 6 am instead of 8 pm to 8 am before. Political parties and candidates can campaign from 6 am till 10 pm following all Covid appropriate behaviour and protocols. Parties and candidates can hold their meetings and rallies up to maximum of 50% of the capacity of the designated open spaces or the limit prescribed by SDMA. Pad-Yatra consisting not more than permitted number of persons as per SDMA limitations and only with prior permission of district authorities will also be allowed.