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:
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.