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SEC Relaxes Poll Norms

Bhubaneswar: With the improvement in the Covid-19 situation in the State, the State Election Commission (SEC) has partially relaxed the restrictions imposed for campaigning during ensuing General Elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), 2022.

While addressing media persons here on Monday, State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi said now, candidates can conduct door-to-door campaigning with a maximum of 20 persons including the candidate. Earlier, only five persons were allowed to accompany contestants in the door-to-door campaign.

Similarly, outdoor meetings have been allowed with a limit of 300 persons, he said. However, all other restrictions like bike rally, cycle rally and Padayatra, etc will be continued to remain in force, Mr.Padhi said.   

The Commission has modified the above guidelines taking the prevailing situation into consideration.  

“Public meetings can be organized by the Political Parties/Contesting Candidates with prior permission of the appropriate authority with maximum 300 persons in open ground subject to strict observance of Covid-19 protocols i.e. compulsory use of face mask and social distancing,” read an order issued by the SEC.  

Mr.Padhi, who held a review meeting with the District Collectors this morning, said, precautionary doses have been administered to about 80 to 90 per cent polling staff while others will get the dose in the next 2 to 3 days.

On preparation of Ward-wise Electoral Roll for the urban polls, the Commissioner said the final draft list will be published on February 10. The SEC has also conveyed a meeting with leaders from all political parties on that day for smooth conduct of the election to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), which is likely to be held soon after the Panchayat Poll.

The Panchayat elections will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. The voters will exercise their franchise from 7 AM to 1 PM on these days. Counting of votes and declaration of results will be done at Block level on February 26, 27 and 28.