The Election Commission of India (ECI) Saturday announced the schedule for the General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Goa.
Goa will vote on February 14 while the counting of votes will be held on March 10.
Clarifying its decision to go ahead with elections in five states amid a looming threat of the third wave of Covid-19, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra said that the holding of timely election is the "essence of maintaining democratic governance,"
"Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately from the announcement of the schedules. Any violation will be strictly dealt with," CEC Chandra said.
CEC advised political parties to conduct campaigns virtually and said no rallies or roadshows will be allowed till January 15. "The situation will be reviewed and fresh instructions to be issued later," he said.
In addition to all of this, CEC said that an optional facility of online nomination will be given to candidates to reduce the physical contact.
“We aim to conduct Covid-safe elections in five states with maximum voter participation with extensive preparations. All polling stations will be equipped with Covid-mitigation facilities including sanitisers and masks; Also the number of booths have been increased,” Chandra said.
The maximum limit for expenses for each candidate in Goa is Rs 28 lakh, he said.
On candidates with criminal cases, CEC Sushil Chandra said that the political party should explain why the person was selected despite criminal records
The elections to 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly will be held in seven phases on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7. The 60 seats in Manipur will be go to polls in two phases on February 27 and March 3. Punjab and Uttarakhand with 117 and 70 will be held in a single phase on February 14.
Meanwhile, all public meetings and gatherings in Goa will now be limited to 50 per cent capacity for indoor venues and up to 100 people in outdoor venues, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Friday.