EC lifts curbs on campaign rallies, meetings

Cites reduction in COVID cases ahead of crucial phases of U.P. polls

At the end of campaigning in two States — Goa and Uttarakhand — and two phases in Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission of India on Saturday announced further relaxation in campaign guidelines citing the reduction in COVID cases.

The campaign timings have relaxed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m., providing political parties an additional four hours a day. The EC has also lifted the ban on road shows, padyatras and processions.

"Padyatra consisting not more than permitted number of persons as per SDMA limitations and only with prior permission of district authorities will also be allowed," the Commission said.

The Commission also lifted the restrictions on public meetings and rallies. Till now, indoor/ outdoor meetings/ rallies were allowed to maximum of 50% of the capacity of Indoor halls and 30% of the open ground capacity or as per State authorities’ direction. But now for outdoors the capacity has increased to 50%.

The next five phases of elections in Uttar Pradesh will see polling in many crucial constituencies including Karhal where Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav is contesting and Goraphpur where Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been fielded. Lucknow, Allahabad, Rae Bareilly and Amethi are also scheduled to go to the polls in the coming phases.

The EC in its statement said, “the ground situation of COVID has significantly improved and the cases are fast receding in the country”. It further claimed that even in the reported cases maximum cases are reported from non-poll going States. All India figures as per EC are fast receding from around 3.47 lakh on January 21 to just about 50,000 as on February 12.

"Especially in the Poll going states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa total number of cases which were more than 32,000 at peak on January,22, 2022 have come down to around 3,000 February 12," the EC said in the statement.

Ends .

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