The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday directed that no physical political rallies and roadshows will be allowed till January 15 for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand in wake of the COVID-19 surge.
“No physical rally of political parties or probably candidates or any other group related to elections shall be allowed till January 15. The Election Commission will subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra said while addressing a press conference.
“No roadshows, padayatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions shall be allowed till January 15. Situation to be reviewed and fresh instructions to be issued later,” the CEC said. “Our civil application should be used by voters to report any incident of violation of the Model Code of Conduct, distribution of money and freebies. Within 100 minutes of complaint, ECI officials will reach the place of the offence,” Chandra added.
Uttar Pradesh will go to the polls in seven phases from Feb 10 to March 7; Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa to vote on February 14th and Manipur to vote on Feb 27 and March 3. Counting of votes for the five poll-bound states will take place on March 10.
A total of 18.34 crore electors including service voters will take part in the upcoming Assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh are slated to go for Assembly elections this year. 403 Assembly seats are slated to go to polls in Uttar Pradesh, 70 seats are up for grabs in Uttarakhand, 117 seats in Punjab, 40 seats in Goa and 60 seats in Manipur.
Out of these 5 poll-bound states, the BJP is in power in 4 states including Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Leaders from all the political parties are campaigning aggressively for months to register their win in the upcoming polls.