The Election Commission of India on Saturday will hold a meeting with the Union Health Secretary and the Chief Health Secretaries of the five poll-bound states to review the ban on holding physical roadshows and rallies by political parties ahead of Assembly elections. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra will hold virtual meetings with the Health Secretary, Chief Secretary, and Chief Electoral Officers of five poll-bound states to take stock of the situation as India is reporting a continuous rise in COVID-19 cases.
The Election commission had put a ban on election rallies and roadshows until January 15 first and later extended till January 22. The progress on vaccination will be a key factor in allowing relaxations. As of today, India reported 3,37,704 fresh COVID cases (9,550 more than yesterday) and 2,42,676 recoveries and 488 deaths in the last 24 hours. Total 21,13,365 active cases are in the country with a daily positivity rate of 17.22 per cent.
The five states going to polls are Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa. The Election commission’s aim is to have maximum voters vaccinated before the elections held in these particular states. Uttar Pradesh which currently has 98,238 active COVID 19 cases has inoculated 96 per cent of its population with the first dose in the 18 plus category. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand inoculated 99 per cent of its population with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 84 per cent of its population with the second dose. Goa has vaccinated 98 per cent of its population above 18 years of age with a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier on January 15, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided that no physical rallies, roadshow, pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession shall be allowed till January 22, 2022. However, the commission also granted relaxations for the political parties in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand, where assembly elections will be held from February 10 till March 10.