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Wednesday, June 29, 2022
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Election Commission of India extends ban on rallies; allows physical meetings of political parties

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On January 22, the Election Commission of India (ECI), extended a ban on political rallies but allowed physical meetings of political parties or candidates who are contesting in the approaching Assembly elections which is to be held in five states in appointed open spaces with certain restrictions.

This was decided by the Election Commission after organising a review meeting with the Health Ministry and concerned officials of the poll-bound states.

About the polls:

Total five states will go to the polls between February 10 and March 7, while the counting of votes will take place on March 10 in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. The Election Commission held virtual meetings with the Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers and Health Secretaries of the poll bound states. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey organised an extensive review of the present Covid scenario and presented various trends in the poll-bound states. The Commission also analysed the vaccination status and the plan of action for prompt completion of vaccination for both of the doses along with the booster dose for the eligible individuals within the polling staff.

Ban on road shows and padyatras:

In the wake of the ongoing Covid scenario, the Election Commission increased the ban on road shows and padyatras till January 31. The EC stated, “No road show, padyatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession shall be allowed till January 31, 2022,”. Nevertheless, it allowed the parties for physical meetings with some restrictions.

Statement by Poll Panel:

The Poll Panel in a statement said, “Since contesting candidates for Phase 1 elections will be finalized on January 27, the Commission has decided to allow physical meetings of concerned political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever is lesser, from January 28 till February 8, excluding the silence period.”

Besides, the Election Commission has also allowed for physical meetings with the same restrictions for Phase 2 of the elections from February 1 to February 12, excluding during the silence period. The Commission has enhanced the door-to-door campaign limit from 5 persons to 10 persons, excluding security personnel.

Other relaxations:

Among other relaxations, the Commission has allowed video vans for publicity with usual Covid restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50 per cent of the capacity or the limit set by the SDMA. The EC had already granted relaxation for indoor meetings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by the SDMA.

Election Commission of India:

Formed in January 25, 1950 the Election Commission of India is an autonomous body under the ownership of Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. 

The Secretariat which is situated in New Delhi is in service of the Election Commission. 

The Election Commission is regarded as the guardian of elections in the country. Besides, one of the most important features of the democratic policy in India is elections at regular intervals. Holding periodic, free and fair elections are essentials of a democratic system and a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. It was in 1971, when for the first time, the commission issued the Code of Conduct for the 5th Lok Sabha elections and since then it has revised it from time to time. It lays down guidelines for the conduct of political parties and candidates during an election period.

Also Read: ASSAM POLICE RECOVERS LARGE AMOUNT OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION

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