Cases down, but EC may retain strict norms for campaign, polls

2 weeks ago 6

NEW DELHI: Even though the Covid-19 situation appears to have eased in the country, the Election Commission is against lowering its guard just yet and may apply the same Covid guidelines it had enforced during the conduct of October 30 parliamentary and assembly bypolls, to the five state elections due early next year.
Elections in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are likely to be held in February-March, keeping in mind that the term of Goa assembly is expiring on March 15, 2022. While the assembly’ terms in the other four states end only later, since all five state polls are together, EC may schedule them such that polling and counting is complete by March 15 next year.
The poll panel held a meeting here on Tuesday with chief electoral officers of the five states. It wants to remain firm on enforcing guidelines that required indoor campaigning to be capped at 30% of allowed capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, and outdoor campaigning to 50% of capacity of ground or 1,000 for rallies with star campaigners. Victory processions were also banned.

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