EC extends ban on rallies by Jan 22


New Delhi,  (UNI) The Election Commission on Saturday banned political rallies and road shows in the five poll-bound states till January 22, but allowed political parties to hold indoor meetings of up to 300 people or 50 per cent of the capacity available at the venue.

The Commision, while announcing the election schedule in five states on January 8, had banned all physical rallies, road shows, padyatras and processions in view of rapidly increasing cases of Covid-19.

CEC Sushil Chandra had then said the ban would be effective till Saturday and would again be reviewed.

"No road show, Pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession shall be allowed till 22 January, 2022. The Commission shall subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly," the EC said in a statement here.

"No physical rally of political parties or candidates (including

probable) or any other group related to election shall be allowed till 22 January, 2022.

"However, the Commission has granted relaxation for political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of maximum 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA will be allowed," the statement issued by the Commission further said.

CEC Sushil Chandra, along with his various other deputies, held a comprehensive review of present status and projected trends of the pandemic with special focus in the five poll-going states.

"The EC also reviewed vaccination status and action plan for expeditiously completing vaccination for 1st, 2nd and booster dose for eligible persons amongst Frontline workers and polling personnel," the statement said.

The Commission, after the review, said that political parties would have to ensure compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour and the Model Code of Conduct and that all other restrictions and guidelines announced on January 8 would continue to apply.

The EC took decision after separate virtual meetings with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, as also the Chief Electoral Officers of these five states.