The Election Commission of India announced the assembly poll dates for Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh today. In the crucial press conference held today, the election body went ahead to announce curbs on political rallies till January 15. The decision came at a time when India is currently facing a massive surge in Covid-19 cases, in what can be seen as the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
In the past 24 hours, India has reported 1,41,986 new Covid-19 cases, taking the daily positivity rate to 9.28%. Out of these 1.4L cases, the total number of Omicron cases has jumped up to 3,071. While Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of Omicron cases followed by Delhi, there are 2 Omicron cases in Punjab, 19 in Goa, 31 in Uttar Pradesh, 8 in Uttarakhand and 1 in Manipur.
This year, no physical rallies, nukkad sabha, public meet will be allowed between 8 PM – 8 AM. No victory processions will be allowed after results. Only 2 persons will be allowed with the winning candidate and only 5 people will be allowed in door to door campaign. EC has also mandated that all election officials and employees will be considered as frontline workers and will be fully vaccinated with precautionary dose.
Out of the 5 poll-bound states, the BJP is in power in 4 states including Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Leaders from all the political parties are campaigning aggressively for months to register their win in the upcoming polls.