SEC Places Curbs On Rallies, Public Meetings, Street Plays For Telangana Municipal Polls

23 Apr, 2021 15:04 IST|Sakshi Post

The State Election Commission (SEC) announced on Thursday that Telangana's municipal elections would be held on April 30 as planned, but imposed additional restrictions on electioneering in view of the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the state.

From Thursday, rallies, public meetings, street plays, or any other form of campaigning will not be allowed from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., according to the SEC's latest order. Furthermore, the campaigning for the seven ULBs is going to end 72 hours before polling.

These decisions were taken after some political parties appealed to the SEC to postpone the elections, citing the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state. 

The SEC said electioneering will end at 5 pm on April 27. It said that there were many cases of blatant violations of coronavirus guidelines. Regarding the plea for postponement of municipal elections, the SEC said that the Assembly elections in some of the states in the country are going on.

There have been several cases when the Election Commission conducted elections despite the political parties urging to either cancel or postpone the elections citing the coronavirus situation.

New guidelines issued by SEC:

  • No rallies, public meetings, street plays, local meetings, bike rallies, and others are allowed from 7 pm to 8 am
  • Campaign for the seven ULBs and nine casual vacancy wards will end by 5 pm on April 27
  • Facemask is compulsory for everyone during every election-related activity
  • Sanitisers to be provided at the entry of polling stations
  • Physical distance to be maintained in the queue lines outside the polling stations duly marking the ground
  • Large halls to be identified and utilized for elections purposes to ensure physical distancing
  • Adequate number of vehicles to be arranged for movement of elections and security personnel, duly following Covid-19 guidelines
  • Aarogya Setu app to be made mandatory for all elections-related staff
  • Nodal Officers to monitor covid guidelines related arrangements and preventive measures during the entire elections process

In view of the growing number of Covid-19 cases, the Telangana State Election Commission announced on Thursday that only five members, including the candidate and excluding the security personnel, would be permitted to campaign door-to-door for the municipal elections.

A minimum of 10 metres must be maintained between two convoys of vehicles.

At least 30 minutes of gap should be maintained between roadshows of two different political parties or candidates on the same route. Public gatherings or rallies may be conducted with strict adherence to Covid guidelines.

DEOs should identify grounds for public meetings and care should be taken to ensure physical distancing.  Sector Health Regulators to be deployed to oversee the implementation and adherence of covid guidelines. Any violations or failure to follow Covid-19 guidelines will be dealt sternly, including criminal action.

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