NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced a seven-phase poll schedule starting February 10 for five states – Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab – slated to vote for a new legislative assembly, with the final count happening on March 10.
“There are 619 constituencies that will go to polls,” said chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra in a press conference. “The decision has been taken after much deliberation, with all stakeholders.”
Uttar Pradesh will vote in seven phases between February 10 and March 7. Goa, Uttarakhand and Punjab will vote on February 14. Manipur will vote in two phases, on February 27 and March 3.
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The commission also issued a strict advisory stating that political parties must focus on virtual rallies. It has also banned roadshows and physical rallies until January 15 in keeping with strict Covid-19 protocols.
“All electoral offences will be brought to the fore,” Chandra said. “These are not just Covid related offences.” He added that there is no need to panic, but only be cautious. “Ultimately it is the voter that has to be safe.”
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The CEC added that all the violations will be dealt with by the chief secretary or the chief of the state disaster management authority.