How Will New EC Guidelines Affect Parties in the Upcoming Assembly Polls?

Will the ban physical political rallies effect the level playing field in crucial states like UP and Punjab?

1 min read

Amid the threat of the Omicron variant and the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the Election Commission of India released new guidelines on the conduct of the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, which primarily ban all physical political rallies and roadshows till 15 January.

Along with a ban on political rallies, other aspects of the poll guidelines include full vaccination of all officials on election duty, no victory processions post-results, and that political parties and candidates are advised to conduct their campaigns through digital or virtual means only.

While the EC did receive some flak for not pushing the elections altogether, given the record-breaking daily COVID cases, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra defended the decision stressing that holding timely elections is the essence of maintaining democratic governance.

But the guidelines have raised eyebrows on the following two points - first, why have political rallies banned only till 15 January, and second, will this ban affect the level playing field in crucial poll-bound states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab?

Joining me today to discuss this is Dr SY Quraishi, the former Chief Election Commissioner of India, and Aditya Menon, The Quint’s Political Editor.

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