EC’s WB Poll Curbs: Public Meetings Allowed? How Many Attendees?

As per the EC’s notice, rallies are not allowed and public meetings can only be held with a limit of 500 people.

2 min read
West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Election Commission has issued new restrictions on campaigning in West Bengal.

The Commission, in its order, said it had noted "with anguish" that many political parties/candidates were still not adhering to the prescribed safety guidelines during public gatherings, thereby making this measure necessary.

The Election Commission’s order comes hours after it was asked by the Calcutta High Court to act against the rising COVID-19 cases.

"The Election Commission is empowered to act, but what is it doing about polls in these COVID times? The EC is just passing circulars and leaving it to the people. But the EC has implementing authority," the court said on Thursday.

“The EC has forgotten TN Seshan. Let EC function like it did during the time of Seshan,” the HC said, referring to the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India, famous for his electoral reforms.

So what are these new curbs? What does it mean for public meetings? And what about pre-existing permissions?

Are public meetings allowed?

Yes. But only those meetings will be permissible, which are up to a limit of 500 people, and conducted at a place with adequate space and social distancing, and adherence to COVID safety norms.

Will road shows or pad-yatras be permissible?

No. Road shows or pad-yatras shall not be allowed.

What about cycle/bike/vehicle rally?

No, cycle/bike/vehicle rally shall not be allowed either.

But what about permissions that have already be granted?

Permission for road-shows, cycle/bike/vehicle rallys, if granted already, stands withdrawn. Permission for public meetings granted already stands modified, as per the new conditions (to the extent above).

Full Text of The Order

CEO West Bengal, all DEOs and ROs have been asked to bring the new restrictions to the notice of all concerned and to “ensure compliance without fail”.

Find full text of the order here:

EC’s WB Poll Curbs: Public Meetings Allowed? How Many Attendees?
(Image: Accessed by The Quint)
EC’s WB Poll Curbs: Public Meetings Allowed? How Many Attendees?
(Image: Accessed by The Quint)

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