Assembly polls: EC to meet on Saturday to review ban on public rallies, road shows

New Delhi, Jan 15 (PTI) The Election Commission will meet on Saturday to decide if the ban imposed by it on public rallies and roadshows should continue.

While announcing the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8, the poll panel had taken an unprecedented step by banning public rallies, road shows and similar physical campaigning events till January 15 in view of rising COVID-19 cases.

The poll watchdog will be holding meetings with Union health secretary and chief secretaries of the five poll-bound states to decide on "any relaxation" on public rallies, according to the sources aware of the review meetings.

On January 8, the Commission had also listed out 16-point guidelines for campaigning as it banned 'nukkad sabhas' (corner meetings) on public roads and roundabouts, limited the number of persons allowed for a door-to-door campaign to five, including the candidate, and prohibited victory processions after the counting on votes.

Separately, in a press release on Friday, the Election Commission (EC) said on considering the ongoing pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact based campaign, it had, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each national party and recognised state party of the five states.