The Election Commission of India on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31.

The decision was taken after the commission held a review meeting through the virtual mode with the secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The panel also held meetings with chief secretaries, chief electoral officers and health secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh – the states that are going to polls.

The commission has announced following rules for parties contesting in the five states:

  • There is a complete ban on roadshows, rallies and procession till January 31.
  • Since the list of candidates that are contesting in the phase one of elections will be finalised on January 27, the panel has allowed parties to conduct public meetings in designated open spaces from January 28 to February 8. The participants limit has been capped at 500 or at 50% of the ground’s capacity, whichever is lesser.
  • Candidates who will be finalised for phase two of the elections can host public meetings of in  open spaces from February 1 to February 12. A maximum of 500 participants are allowed or 50% of the ground’s capacity can be filled, whichever is lesser.
  • The district election officer has to notify designated places in advance.
  • Ten 10 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed undertake door-to-door campaigns.
  • For indoor meetings, not more than 300 participants or 50% of the hall’s capacity will be allowed.

This is the second time in the week that the commission has extended the ban. On January 15, the panel had barred physical rallies and roadshows till January 22.

The elections to five states were announced by the Election Commission on January 8.

The elections to 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly will be held in seven phases on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7.

The 60 seats in Manipur will got to polls in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

Uttarakhand and Goa with 70 and 40 seats will be held in a single phase on February 14.

Elections in Punjab for 117 seats will take place on February 20.

The results will be announced on March 10.