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As COVID-19 cases rise, ECI bans election rally till January 15


The Commission said it will subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly. Broad guidelines have also been issued for election campaigns.

TFM Desk


In view of the rising number of COVID cases in the country and concern for the Omicron variant, the Election Commission of India on Saturday announced broad guidelines to be followed during election campaigns by political parties, contesting candidates and others.

The Commission has banned road shows, pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession, physical rally of political parties or probable candidates or any other group related to election till January 15, 2022. The Commission said it will subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly.

However, physical rallies during the campaign period, as and when permitted after the decision of the Commission shall be conducted subject to adherence to extant COVID-19 guidelines. The maximum limit of persons allowed for Indoor and outdoor rally/meeting shall be as per existing direction of respective SDMAs. For these meetings political parties shall distribute masks and sanitizers to persons attending and maintain COVID protocol at entry and exit point, according to the Commission.

The Commission also laid out the steps to be taken by the District Election Officer for this purpose:

I. District Election Officer should, in advance, identify dedicated grounds for public gathering with clearly marked Entry/Exit points.

II. In all such identified grounds, the District Election Officer should ensure that markers for social distancing norms are put in place in advance by organisers of the meeting/rally.

III. District Election Officer and District Superintendent of Police should ensure that the number of attendees do not exceed the limit prescribed by State Disaster Management Authority for public gatherings. DEO should depute Nodal Health officers to oversee that COVID-19 instructions/guidelines are followed during these meetings.

IV. The political parties and candidates concerned shall ensure that all COVID-19 related requirement like face masks, sanitizers, thermal scanning etc. are fulfilled during each of election related activities.

Further, the Commission said that rallies and meetings shall be allowed only in earmarked places and with prior permissions of district administration. Each political party/candidate shall furnish an undertaking in the application form (under Suvidha) that it shall abide by all the extant instructions/guidelines in this regard.

The Commission further said that allocation of public spaces must be done using the Suvidha app in the manner already prescribed by Commission.

The Commission has also banned rallies and public meetings (akin to campaign curfew) on any campaign day between 8 pm and 8 am. Nukkad Sabhas (meeting) has also been banned on public roads, roundabouts or public streets or corners.

Further, Political parties and candidates have been advised to conduct their campaign as much as possible through digital/virtual/ media platforms /mobile based mode instead of physical mode ensuring strict compliance of COVID safety norms.

A maximum of five persons including candidate, excluding security personnel, if any, have been allowed to do door to door campaigning.

The Commission said that convoys of vehicles shall be broken after every five vehicles and the interval between two sets of convoys of vehicles should be half an hour instead of a gap of 100 meters. (In supersession of Para 5.8.1of Returning Officer’s Handbook 2019). During the permitted campaign period, convoy of vehicles will be allowed only for movement of vehicles from one point to another point for campaigning.

The maximum number of star campaigners for recognised National/State political parties has been fixed for 30 in place of 40, for unrecognized political parties 15 in place of 20. Request for permission for campaign by star campaigners may be given at least 48 hours before the start of campaign to make all necessary safety arrangements.

Victory procession after the counting has also been banned and not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer.

The Commission also said that If a candidate or political party violates any of the above guidelines, no further permission shall be given to the concerned candidate/party for rallies, meetings etc.

The Commission on December 29, 2021 has directed Secretary, MoHFW to issue direction to treat all eligible govt. officials, deployed/engaged for elections, at par with Front Line Workers (FLWs) in the poll going states and to give them additional precaution dose of COVID-19.

The Commission has directed that during electoral process Chief Secretary at State level and District Magistrate at District level, shall be primarily responsible for monitoring, supervision and strict enforcement of these COVID guidelines and the guidelines issued by NDMA and respective SDMA/DDMA, whichever is more stringent.


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