5 States To Vote In 7 Phases From February 10th

Story Highlights
  • 5 states will vote over 7 phases starting February 10th and counting on March 10th.
  • Uttar Pradesh will vote in each of the 7 phases.
  • To ensure safety physical rallies and meetings are banned till January 15th.

New Delhi: Dates for Assembly elections in five states – Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand – were announced Saturday afternoon. The 5 states will vote over 7 phases starting February 10th, with the counting of votes scheduled for March 10th. Uttar Pradesh will vote in each of the 7 phases – on February 10th, February 14th, February 20th, February 23rd, February 27th, March 3rd, and March 7th. Punjab, Goa, and Uttarakhand will vote on February 14th. Manipur will vote in 2 phases on February 27th March 3rd.

A total of 690 Assembly constituencies will vote over the next 2 months, with the maximum in UP (403 seats) followed by Punjab (117), Uttarakhand (70), Manipur (60) and Goa (40). The holding of timely election is the “essence of maintaining democratic governance,” the Election Commission said today, clarifying its decision to go ahead with elections in 5 states amid a sweeping third wave of Covid driven by the Omicron variant. The Commission said it had decided to go ahead with the polls after detailed discussions with the Union Health Secretary and Home Secretary, experts, and health secretaries of the concerned states.

To ensure safety, the Commission barred physical rallies and meetings till January 15th, saying a review will be taken after that since the “ground situation is dynamic”. Elections in all 5 states will be held amid a massive surge in Covid cases across the country fuelled in part by the Omicron variant – this morning the Union Health Ministry reported over 1.41 lakh new infections in the previous 24 hours, an increase of 21 per cent from the day before.

On Friday top officials from the Election Commission and the Health Ministry met in Delhi to discuss polling and the Covid situation. Among the measures discussed was double vaccination of all poll workers and voters, including extending voting times by an hour and setting up extra polling booths in UP – India’s most populous state – to ensure social distancing.

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