Assembly polls in five States from February 10, Election Commission bans physical campaigning till January 15

Seven-phased polling in U.P. from February 10 to March 7; Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand polls on February 14; Manipur polls on February 27, March 3; counting on March 10

January 08, 2022 05:22 pm | Updated 10:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra addresses a press conference in New Delhi to announce dates for elections in five States.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra addresses a press conference in New Delhi to announce dates for elections in five States.

 

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday announced the election schedule for the Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh State Assemblies. The Commission also banned all physical campaigning till January 15 due to the increasing COVID-19 cases across the country.

Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said the decision was taken after taking inputs from health officials and much deliberation.

 

Polling for Uttar Pradesh’s 403 Assembly seats would be held over seven phases on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7.

Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand will all vote on a single day, February 14. Elections in Manipur will be spread over two phases on February 27 and March 3.

Counting for all 690 constituencies across five States, where a total of 18.34 crore citizens are eligible to vote, would be carried out on March 10.

Mr. Chandra said no roadshows, padyatras, cycle or bike rallies, vehicle rallies and processions as well as physical rallies would be allowed till January 15 in view of the Omicron threat. He said the EC would review the situation on January 15 and take a call on allowing physical campaigning after that.

Answering a question about voters potentially staying away due to the COVID situation, Mr. Chandra said there was “no need to panic”. He said safety measures would be in place at polling booths and all polling staff would be fully vaccinated.

“We should have a faith, a belief that we can pass through this particular pandemic also through our safety measures…The decision to go ahead with scheduled elections was taken after much deliberation, discussions and careful analysis of the ever-dynamic situation. The situation is very dynamic, it is not static. Nobody can predict,” Mr. Chandra said.

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Citing Article 172(1) of the Constitution that sets a five-year term for each Assembly, Mr. Chandra said, “Any postponement of Assembly elections may result in situation that denies people of that State the right to elect an accountable government of their choice.”

Mr. Chandra said the EC had consulted the Union Health Secretary and other health experts ahead of the announcement of the schedule. As of Friday, 95.8% of those eligible to vote had received both doses of the vaccine in Goa, 82.39% in Uttarakhand, 45.6% in Punjab, 44.8% in Manipur and 52% in U.P., he said. In total, over 15 crore people in the five states had received at least one dose and nine crore people had got both doses, he said.

Mr. Chandra said the EC also reviewed the weekly positivity rate, which was 0.24% in U.P., 1.01% in Uttarakhand, 2.1% in Punjab, 1.1% in Manipur and 13% in Manipur “because of the New Years’ parties by outsiders”, he said.

 

Later, Mr. Chandra told The Hindu that the EC would review not just the positivity rate, but other factors as well when deciding to allow rallies or continue the ban post-January 15. He said the EC had ensured safety of the three things under its control — the safety measures at polling booths, the polling officials who would be treated as frontline workers for receiving a third dose of the vaccine and the COVID-safe measures for voters.

As for previous elections during the pandemic, the EC brought out a revised set of guidelines for the polls. If and when the EC decides to allow physical rallies, the curbs on number of people allowed to attend, rules on safety measures and other guidelines issued by the State Disaster Management Authority would apply.

Mr. Chandra said the district magistrate and the State’s chief secretary, along with EC officers, would monitor the implementation of the COVID guidelines. Candidates would also have to submit an affidavit that they will adhere to the guidelines. Victory processions will also be banned.

The announcement of polls came on the day the country’s daily positivity rate was 9.28% and active cases stood at 4.72 lakh, according to a Health and Family Welfare Ministry statement.

The Dates

Phase 1: U.P.

Issue of NotificationsJan 14
Last Date of making nominationsJan 21
Scrutiny of nominationsJan 24
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesJan 27
Date of PollFeb 10
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase: 2 Punjab, U.P., Uttarakhand, Goa

Issue of NotificationsJan 21
Last Date of making nominationsJan 28
Scrutiny of nominationsJan 29
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesJan 31
Date of PollFeb 14
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase 3- U.P.

Issue of NotificationsJan 25
Last Date of making nominationsFeb 1
Scrutiny of nominationsFeb 2
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesFeb 4
Date of PollFeb 20
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase 4 - U.P.

Issue of NotificationsJan 27
Last Date of making nominationsFeb 3
Scrutiny of nominationsFeb 4
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesFeb 7
Date of PollFeb 23
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase 5 - U.P., Manipur

Issue of NotificationsFeb 1
Last Date of making nominationsFeb 8
Scrutiny of nominationsFeb 9
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesFeb 11
Date of PollFeb 27
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase 6 -U.P., Manipur

Issue of NotificationsFeb 4
Last Date of making nominationsFeb 11
Scrutiny of nominationsFeb 14
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesFeb 16
Date of PollMarch 3
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

Phase 7 - U.P.

Issue of NotificationsFeb 10
Last Date of making nominationsFeb 17
Scrutiny of nominationsFeb 18
Last date for withdrawal of candidaturesFeb 21
Date of PollMarch 7
Counting of VotesMarch 10

 

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