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EC Announces Dates For Assembly Polls In Five States

The elections will be conducted in seven phases starting from 10th February, 2022 and the counting of votes on 10th March, 2022. The five poll bound states are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur

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The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced the schedule for assembly elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The Model Code of Conduct has kicked in with immediate effect.

The elections will be held in seven phases starting from the state of Uttar Pradesh on 10th February 2022. However, elections to the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will be concluded in a single phase and the polling date for these states is 14th February 2022. Manipur will also undergo polling in two phases with the polling for the first phase on 27th February 2022 and for the second phase on 3rd March 2022.

Uttar Pradesh’s second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh phase is scheduled for 14th February, 20th February, 23rd February, 27th February, 3rd March and 7th March 2022 respectively. The counting of votes for all five states is scheduled for 10th March 2022.

A total of 18.34 crore electors including service voters will take part in this election out of which 8.55 crore are women electors. The Commission said it had decided to go ahead with the polls after detailed discussions with the Union Health Secretary, Home Secretary, experts and health secretaries of the concerned states.

Strict Covid Protocol
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra informed that strict Covid protocol will be followed during the whole election cycle. Polling stations will be equipped with Covid-mitigation facilities including sanitisers and masks. The number of booths has also increased and the average number of people per booth has also been reduced to 680 from the usual 1000 to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing. Also, polling time has been increased by one hour in all polling stations. All eligible election officers on poll duty will be treated as frontline workers and will be provided with booster shots.

"The vaccination programme in the poll-bound States will be expediated. We have spoken to the Chief Secretaries of these States," said Chandra.

Political parties and candidates are advised to conduct their campaigns virtual and digital modes as much as possible instead of physical mode. For this, the air time in Doordarshan for political parties have been doubled. Further, only five people will be allowed to take part in door-to-door campaigns.

Chandra also informed that all physical rallies and meetings have been banned till January 15 keeping in view the “dynamic situation” caused by the Omicron variant, post which a review of the ground situation will be taken to decide on the future course of action.