New Delhi: Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases, the Election Commission announced on Saturday. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.
With the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding, the commission has set new protocols to ensure “Covid safe” elections to 690 assembly seats across the five states, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra told reporters here.
He was flanked by election commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey.
In Uttar Pradesh, elections will be held in 403 assembly seats in seven phases from February 10 to March 7.
Elections in 60 constituencies of Manipur will held in two phases on February 27 and March 3, while polling in Goa (40 seats), Punjab (117 seats) and Uttarakhand (70 seats) will be held on February 14.
While addressing a press conference here Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said, “A total of 18.34 crore electors including service voters will take part in this election out of which 8.55 crore are women electors.”
Amid a surge in Covid cases, the Election Commission on Saturday banned election rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in the five poll-bound states.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said the poll authority will review the Covid situation on January 15 and take a further call on allowing public rallies.
“The Commission will not hesitate to bar parties from further rallies if COVID protocol is not followed,” Chandra said.
The Commission also set out stringent COVID guidelines, restricting the number of persons allowed for door-to-door campaigns to five.
Political parties have been asked to provide masks, hand sanitisers to people attending rallies, if they are allowed, Chandra said.
The Commission has also banned victory celebrations and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the candidate to collect the winning certificate.
“24.9 lakh first-time electors are registered in the five poll-bound states,” Chandra said. “ECI has mandated that at least one polling station managed exclusively by women shall be set up in every Assembly constituency. Our officers have identified much more than that. There are 690 Assembly seats but we are setting up 1,620 such polling booths,” the CEC said.
Amid the spike in Covid cases, the ECI has informed that senior citizens above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities and Covid patients can vote by postal ballots.
Out of these 5 poll-bound states, the BJP is in power in 4 states including Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Leaders from all the political parties are campaigning aggressively for months to register their win in the upcoming polls.