Assembly election 2022: Election Commission to announce dates of polls for five states at 3:30 pm

The model code of conduct will come into effect from today following the announcement of the dates.

FP Staff January 08, 2022 13:03:16 IST
Assembly election 2022: Election Commission to announce dates of polls for five states at 3:30 pm

Electors queue up to vote. PTI

The Election Commission will announce the dates for assembly polls in five states at 3.30 pm Saturday. The poll body has convened a press conference in which it will declare the schedule for the polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.

"The press conference will be held in Vigyan Bhawan at 3:30 pm on 8 January," the poll body added.

This comes at a time when India has been witnessing a third wave of COVID-19 as the country records over one lakh daily cases for the last two days. The model code of conduct will come into effect from today following the announcement of the dates.

Also read: Elections in pandemic times: Why our political parties need to switch to digital canvassing

Citing the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, the Congress has announced that it would not hold any rallies in Uttar Pradesh and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to refrain from holding large public events in the state.

While the term of the current Uttar Pradesh Assembly is ending in May, those of the other four assemblies are ending on different dates in March.

The term of Uttar Pradesh Assembly ends on 15 March, that of the Punjab House ends on 27 March, Manipur on 19 March, Goa on 15 March, and Uttarakhand on 23 March.

On Friday top officials from the Election Commission and the Health Ministry met in Delhi to discuss polling and the COVID-19 situation, news agency PTI reported. Among the measures discussed was the double vaccination of all poll workers and voters.

As per Indian Express, the Election Commission has already written to the chief secretaries of five poll-bound states, asking them to “accelerate” the pace of Covid-19 vaccination. The poll panel also expressed concerns over the low percentage of first dose coverage in Manipur.

In December, last month, the Allahabad High Court had asked the Election Commission and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer polls by a couple of months in light of the Omicron threat.

The Election Commission had earlier said this was the responsibility of individual state governments, and that it could not act until the Model Code is enforced.

Also read: 2022 Assembly elections: Learn from Bengal experience, ban large political rallies, yatras from onset in poll-bound states

The Uttarakhand High Court has also expressed concern; it recently asked if rallies could be held virtually, and people could vote online. The state has since banned all election rallies till 16 January.

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