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Assembly polls: EC extends ban on public rallies as Covid cases swell exponentially

Delhi, January 15

The Election Commission of India extended its ban on public rallies on Saturday, PTI reported officials as saying—a development that came as the country continued to record a massive surge in Covid-19 case, fuelled primarily by the highly transmissible Omicron.

A statement from the Election Commission of India said it was extending its ban on public rallies, roadshows, and corner meetings until January 22.

The Election Commission of India had announced elections in five states last week but put a ban on public rallies to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Five states—Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur—are scheduled to hold assembly elections from February 10. The seven-phase e-elections will end on March 7, and votes will be counted on March 10.

India recorded 2.69 lakh new Covid-19 cases on Saturday and 406 new deaths.

Learning from its mistakes last year, the Election Commission of India announced several measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, including banning public rallies.

Assembly elections last year in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Pudducherry saw public leaders address political rallies despite warnings from experts. The rallies have been blamed for contributing to the devastating second wave that was fuelled by the virulent Delta variant.

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