Assembly Polls 2022: Election Commission mulls ban on public events amid Covid-19 surge

Assembly Polls 2022: Election Commission mulls ban on public events amid Covid-19 surge

New Delhi: The increasing number of Covid-19 cases amidst the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic may compel the Election Commission (EC) to impose restrictions during campaigning for the assembly polls in various states.

In such a case, the option of allowing public rallies for only one week in each stage is being considered. If an agreement is reached, a ban on public rallies in five states may be imposed from January 22, i.e. Saturday, till the end of this month.

Exemptions to the ban will be given step by step so that crowds do not start gathering in the entire state at once. The commission has convened a high-level meeting of state health chiefs and experts, including the health ministry, on Saturday to review the situation, which will review the status of corona infection. Corona cases are declining in some states and increasing in many places.

According to Election Commission (EC) officials, the candidates have the right to go to the public and have their say. Therefore, opportunity must be given but vigilance is necessary. Since this is an assembly election, a week’s rest may be enough.

The election of the first phase is scheduled to be held on February 10 and in such a case, if an exemption is given from February 1, they can campaign till the evening of February 8. In any case, the Election Commission (EC) has allowed a maximum of 300 people to meet in a closed room from the first day, so there may be smaller meetings.

It is noteworthy that the Election Commission (EC) had announced the ban on roadshows and rallies along with the announcement of elections. 

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However, at that time the ban was only for January 15. But after reviewing the situation, the commission had extended it till January 22. However, there is no major improvement in the standards by which the Election Commission (EC) imposed the sanctions.

Despite this, the Election Commission has limited options in the way the pressure has increased to allow campaigning by political parties. At the moment, the Commission is not in the mood to take any hasty decision in the manner in which it has been embarrassed on this issue in the last elections.

first published:Jan. 21, 2022, 9:52 p.m.

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