No Large Rallies, Restrictions On Campaigning Ahead Of Bengal Civic Polls

No Large Rallies, Restrictions On Campaigning Ahead Of Bengal Civic Polls

Elections to four municipal corporations in Bengal are scheduled on January 22. (Representational)


The State Election Commission on Monday while sticking to its schedule for elections to four municipal corporations on January 22, said it would not allow large political rallies or road shows and would allow small teams of up to five political workers including the candidate for door-to-door campaigns.

The new guidelines announced on Monday keeping in view the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in West Bengal, also placed restrictions on the number of people allowed in a political party’s campaign meeting as well as banned various forms of campaigning from 8 pm to 9 am.

“No road show or ‘padayatra‘ (walking rallies) shall be permissible. No cycle/ bike/ vehicle rally shall be permissible. A maximum number of five persons including the candidates, excluding security personnel are allowed to house to house campaigning,” the guidelines issued by the SEC said.

It also said “a maximum number of 500 persons are allowed in a political party meeting conducted in a open space – big ground with separate entry and exit.”

SEC statement said a maximum number of 200 persons, or 50 per cent of seating capacity of the hall, will be allowed in a political party meeting conducted in a conference hall.

The state poll panel said permission for public meeting, if granted already, is allowed as per the revised guideline of the Commission.

“No rallies, public meetings, street plays, etc. shall be allowed on any day during the campaign period between 8 pm and 9 am and there shall be no campaign from 72 hours before the end of polling,” the guidelines added.

The statement said double vaccination is mandatory for electoral staff including polling personnel while candidates and polling agents would have to be jabbed at least once.

Elections to Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, Chandannagar Municipal Corporation, Siliguri Municipal Corporation and Asansol Municipal Corporation will take place on January 22.

The SEC also decided to appoint one Nodal Health officer to oversee Covid-19 related arrangements and preventive measures during the elections, an official said, adding that the Commission has also made it mandatory for every person entering the polling venue to wear masks and ordered that all polling stations be sanitised.

“There shall be thermal scanning and hand sanitisation of all persons entering polling premises,” he said.

According to the SEC official, Covid patients, who are quarantined, will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective polling stations.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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