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Public rallies banned extended by ECI till January 22

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Public Rallies
Photo Credit: The Economic Times

The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Saturday that the prohibition on public rallies and roadshows in the five poll-bound states would be prolonged for another week, until January 22. However, in the states of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, where assembly elections will be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7, the poll panel gave some concessions to political parties.

“ECI extends ban on physical rallies and roadshows until 22 January, 2022. ECI grants relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority),” the Election Commission informed on its official Twitter handle.

“ECI directs political parties to adhere to the provisions of MCC (Model Code of Conduct) and the broad guidelines of COVID. ECI directs State/ District Administration to ensure compliance of all instructions related to MCC and COVID,” it further shared.

While announcing the dates for assembly elections in the five states last Saturday, the ECI also announced a slew of limitations in response to an increase in the country’s daily Covid-19 infections, as well as in individual states. Until January 15, public demonstrations, roadshows, padayatras (foot marches), and any type of procession were prohibited.

While the Sushil Chandra-led council authorised parties to hold virtual events, it also stated that a decision on physical gatherings will be made once the seven-day time had expired.

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