The Election Commission of India (ECI) yesterday announced the dates for assembly polls in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, from February 10 to March 7.
While Uttar Pradesh 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 February 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.
Elections 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, the 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.
Amid the rising Covid cases, the Election Commission of India has banned physical political rallies and roadshows till January 15. Besides, the number of voters at a polling station has been reduced to 1,250 from 1,500 thereby, increasing the number of election booths. Further, polling time has been increased by an hour.
Polling in UP to begin from Western UP. Constituencies in Muzaffarnagar, Noida, Shamli, Aligarh, Mathura and Agra will go for polling in the first phase on Feb 10.
The CEC further said that all election officials and employees will be considered as frontline workers and all eligible officers will be vaccinated with 'precautionary dose'.
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, he added.
As per the Health Ministry data, the Covid positivity rate logged by these five poll-bound states are Uttar Pradesh 24%, Uttarakhand 1.01%, Punjab: 2.1%, Manipur 1.1% and Goa 13%.