New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Election Commission of India (ECI) extended the ban on political rallies in the poll-bound states for one more week till January 22, 2022. The top Election body reviewed the existing ban on rallies and came to the decision to extend the ban for one more week.

The Election Commission reportedly held a series of meetings, with the Union Health Secretary, Chief and Health Secretaries and Chief Election Officers of all poll-bound states and made the decision. 

ECI also granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of maximum of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by State Disaster Management Authority can now be held in the poll-bound states.

On January 8, Election Commission of India while announcing the schedule of assembly polls in the 5 states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – had said that rallies, roadshows, and political events will be banned till January 15.

"Candidates should conduct campaign through virtual mode as much as possible. There will be no nukkad sabhas on public roads and no victory procession after counting," Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had said last week.

Assembly Polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand are scheduled to be conducted starting next month amid surge in COVID-19 cases in the country due to spread of Omicron variant of the virus.

The first phase of Assembly elections will begin on February 10 and continue till March 7, with results due on March 10.

On Saturday, India reported over 2.68 lakh new Covid cases, taking the active caseload to over 14 lakh, the highest since June 1.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma