The commission has appointed Special Observers for the poll-bound states to oversee the holding of the free and fair elections. (AFP)
New Delhi: The Election Commission of India on Sunday granted relaxation for holding indoor and outdoor public meetings in the five poll-bound states while sticking with the ban on roadshows, rallies, processions, and 'padyatra'.
"Restrictions regarding outdoor meeting/indoor meetings/rallies will be further relaxed subject to the condition that the number of persons attending the indoor/outdoor meetings/rallies will be limited to a maximum of 50 per cent of the capacity of Indoor halls and 30 per cent of the open ground capacity or as fixed by DEO as per the requirement of the social distancing norms and whichever is less," ECI said in a statement.
"Ban on roadshows, pad yatras, cycle/bike/vehicle rallies, and processions will remain as before. A maximum number of persons permissible for door-to-door campaigning fixed at 20 will also remain as before. Ban on campaign between 8 PM and 8 AM will also continue as before," it added.
The decision was taken after the Election Commission held a meeting with the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Saturday to assess the prevailing ground situation.
The Health Ministry informed the Commission that COVID-19 cases are fast receding in the country and the poll going states are contributing a very small proportion of the total reported cases in the country.
The commission has appointed Special Observers for the poll-bound states to oversee the holding of the free and fair elections.
"Many Special Observers have sent their reports and have stated that the COVID situation has improved substantially and positivity rate has come down significantly," the ECI said.
The Commission further said that the open ground rallies can be held only on the grounds specifically designated by the district authorities and subject to compliance with all the conditions of SDMA.
"Allocation of these grounds will be given equitably by the district administration through e-Suvidha portal on the first come first serve basis. Capacities of these grounds will be fixed by the District Administration well in advance and notified to all the parties," it added.
The Election Commission will review the situation periodically and take necessary decisions for amendment in its guidelines based on ground-level situation, added the statement.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7.
Elections in Goa and Uttarakhand will be held on February 14 and in Manipur from February 27 to March 3. Elections in Punjab will be held on February 20.
The counting of votes will be done on March 10.