The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday allowed the political parties of the five poll-bound states to hold indoor meetings with a maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall. However, the poll panel further extended the ban imposed by it on public rallies and roadshows in the five poll-bound states till January 22 amid rising COVID-19 cases.
"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," tweeted ECI spokesperson.
"ECI directs political parties to adhere to the provisions of MCC and the broad guidelines of COVID. ECI directs State/ District Administration to ensure compliance of all instructions related to MCC and COVID," read another tweet.
This comes after ECI today met with Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and the principal health secretaries of the five poll-bound states to decide if the ban imposed by it on public rallies and road shows should continue.
According to reports, the Union health secretary and the principal health secretaries unanimously told the ECI that the pace of COVID-19 infection has not gone down yet. However, the intensity of infection of the Omicron variant is not as deadly as that of Delta but it won't be right to give any relaxation right now, they said.
Earlier on January 8, while announcing the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur, the poll panel had taken an unprecedented step by banning public rallies, roadshows and similar physical campaigning events till January 15 in view of rising COVID-19 cases.
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