Monday, 24 January, 2022

India announces election schedule for 5 states

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday announced the schedule for the assembly elections in five states - Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh (UP), report agencies.

While UP will go to polls in seven phases from February 10 to March 7, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa will vote in a single phase on February 14. Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will be held on March 10 and results for all states will be announced the same day, the commission said.

Elections will be held for 403 assembly seats in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra was quoted as saying by the Indian media.

Of these 5 poll-bound states, the BJP is in power in 4 states: Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Leaders from all the political parties are campaigning aggressively for months.

No road-shows, padyatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions will be allowed till January 15 in view of COVID situation. The situation will be reviewed later, the CEC said. He also said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately.

“We aim to conduct COVID-safe elections with maximum voter participation. All polling stations will be equipped with COVID-mitigation facilities including sanitisers and masks. Also, the number of booths have been increased,” he added.

Some 183.4 million voters, including service voters, will take part in the elections in the five states, the ECI chief said. "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." "24.9 lakh first-time electors are registered in the five poll-bound states," Chandra said.

"The ECI has mandated that at least one polling station managed exclusively by women shall be set up in every Assembly constituency. Our officers have identified much more than that. There are 690 Assembly seats but we are setting up 1620 such polling booths," the CEC said.

Amid the spike in COVID-19 cases, the ECI said that senior citizens above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities and COVID-19 patients can vote by postal ballots.