New Delhi: Amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country, the Election Commission (EC) will meet on Saturday to take a call on whether to extend beyond January 15 the ban on public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings in five poll-bound states.
The decision is to be taken based on inputs about the spread of coronavirus and its new variant Omicron.
Earlier while announcing the schedule of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the panel had banned public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings till January 15 in view of the spike in COVID-19 infections in India.
The Commission had also listed 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned 'nukkad sabhas' (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limiting the number of persons allowed for the door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting of votes.
In a press release on Friday, the EC said that considering the ongoing pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact-based campaign, it has, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation, decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each national party and recognised state party of the five states.
This is noteworthy that the much-awaited Assembly polls in the five states will be held in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
Meanwhile, India recorded 2,64,202 new COVID-19 infections and the country's active caseload has now increased to 12,72,073. An increase of 1,54,542 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload between Thursday and Friday.