Assembly elections in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, Manipur to be held between February 10 and March 7
New Delhi, January 8, 2022
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today announced that elections to the legislative assemblies of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur would be held between February 10 and March 7.
Counting of votes in all the states would be held on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra told a press conference here.
Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases on February 10, 14, 20, 23 and March 3 and 7; while Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand will go to the polls on February 14.
Polling will be held in two phases in Manipur on February 27 and March 3, Chandra said, adding that the elections would be held with full adherence to all COVID-19 protocols.
The elections would be held following full Covid protocols, he said.
In this context, Chandra said that physical rallies, road shows, or processions would be allowed up to January 15 and all parties had been advised to conduct their campaigns in virtual mode. The Commission would review the situation after that date, he said.
He said all election oficials would be vaccinated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as a booster dose, and would be treated as "frontline" workers. Voting booths would be fully sanitised and there would be adequate stocks of items such as gloves, sanitizers and so on for the use of the polling staff.
More than 15 crore people in the five poll-bound states have received the first dose of the vaccine, while nine crore people have received both the shots.
Polling time has been increased by one hour in all the states.
The final electoral rolls were published on January 5. There are a total of 18.34 crore voters, including service voters. Of these, 8.55 crore are women. The EC has made an effort to increase the number of voters and as a result, all states have seen an increase, with the maximum voter increase in Uttar Pradesh.
There are a total of 24.5 lakh first time electors and 30.47 lakh senior citizens. The EC has capped the number of voters per booth to 1,250, resulting in an increase in the number of polling stations to 30,334 as the average number of voters per polling booth has decreased.
At least one booth in each Assembly constituency will be managed exclusively by women, Chandra said.
"It will now be mandatory to publish criminal records of candidates minimum three times in local newspapers and television channels. Even the parties are expected to do so with their candidates," he said.
Earlier, Chandra said that the Commission has set out three goals for these elections: Covid-free elections, hassle-free voting experience and maximum participation by voters.
The preparations have been going on for at least six months with EC teams visiting poll-bound states.