The Election Commission of India Saturday announced the schedule for the assembly elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. While UP will go to polls in seven phases from February 10 to March 7, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will vote in a single phase on February 14. Manipur, on the other hand, will vote in two phases on Feb 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will be held on March 10, the poll body addedElections will be held for 403 assembly seats in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa, said Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra.
No roadshows, padyatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions shall be allowed till 15th January in view of Covid situation. The situation will be reviewed and fresh instructions to be issued later, CEC said. He also said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately from announcement of the schedules.
It is mandatory for political parties to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases selected as poll candidates and as to why this particular candidate was selected, CEC said.“We aim to conduct Covid-safe elections in five states with maximum voter participation with extensive preparations. All polling stations will be equipped with Covid-mitigation facilities including sanitisers and masks; Also the number of booths have been increased,” he added.Citing the latest surge in Covid-19 cases, the Congress has announced that it would not hold any rallies in Uttar Pradesh and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to refrain from holding large public events in the state.
Meanwhile, all public meetings and gatherings in Goa will now be limited to 50 per cent capacity for indoor venues and up to 100 people in outdoor venues, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Friday as the coastal state – which goes to the elections soon – recorded a steep rise in Covid-19 cases.
By line: Divya Thearia