NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) today held a review meeting with the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India through virtual mode.
The Commission also held virtual meetings with Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers and Health Secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioners Shri Rajiv Kumar and Shri Anup Chandra Pandey accompanied by Secretary General and concerned Deputy Election Commissioners held a comprehensive review of the present situation with respect to status and projected trends of COVID pandemic in the five poll going states.
The Commission also reviewed Vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for 1st, 2nd and booster dose for eligible persons amongst polling personnel. The Commission deliberated on relaxing restrictions for physical rallies in the wake of prevailing situation.
After taking into consideration inputs and ground reports from these officers, the Commission also deliberated on requirements of the campaign period in phases where candidate list will be finalised on January 27, 2022 for Phase 1 and on January 31, 2022 for Phase 2.
After considering the present situation, facts and circumstances as also the inputs received in these meetings, Commission has decided as follows:
(1) No road show, Pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession shall be allowed till January 31, 2022.
(2) Since contesting candidates for Phase 1 elections will be finalised on January 27, 2022, 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% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from January 28, 2022 till February 8, 2022 (excluding the silence period).
(3) Since contesting candidates for Phase 2 elections will be finalised on January 31 2022, Commission has decided to allow physical meetings of concerned Political parties or contesting candidates with public in designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 persons or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from February 1, 2022 till February 12, 2022 (excluding the silence period).
(4) The Commission has also enhanced the limit of door to door campaign. Instead of 5 persons, now 10 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door to door campaigns. Other instructions on door to door campaigns will continue.
5) Commission has already granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of a maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA is allowed.
(6) Commission has also allowed video vans for publicity with usual COVID restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers or 50 % of the capacity or the limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, in the poll going States subject to public convenience and no hindrance to smooth flow of traffic. (Instructions in this regard are being sent to the CEOs separately).
(7) Political parties and contesting candidates shall ensure the compliance of COVID appropriate behaviour & guidelines and Model Code of Conduct at all occasions during the activities connected with elections.
(8) It shall be the responsibility of the DEO concerned to identify and to notify the designated spaces in advance for the aforesaid purposes.
(9) All remaining restrictions as contained in the Revised Broad Guidelines for Conduct of Elections, 2022 issued on January 8, 2022 shall continue to operate.
All concerned State/District authorities shall ensure full compliance of these instructions.
The Commission will review these instructions at a subsequent date.