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Election Commission: Elections will be held in 7 phases in 5 states, voting from February 10 to March 7, counting of votes on March 10

New Delhi| The upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur will be held in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. After this, the counting of votes will take place on March 10. The Election Commission made this announcement on Saturday.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that polling will be held in Uttar Pradesh on February 10, 14, 20 and 23 as well as on March 3 and 7. Apart from this, polling will be held in Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand on February 14 while in Manipur on February 27 and March 3.

The elections will be conducted with a complete covid protocol.

Keeping in view the pandemic situation, no physical rallies, roadshows, padayatra or vehicle rallies will be allowed till January 15. All parties have been advised to run the campaign in virtual mode.

Referring to Article 171(1), Chandra said the term of the Assembly is to end in five years and therefore elections are necessary.

As per the COVID protocol for conducting the elections, all election officials will be double vaccinated, given a booster dose and will also be treated as frontline workers. The booths will be fully sanitized and adequate gloves, sanitizers etc. will be available for the polling personnel.

In the five poll-bound states, more than 15 crore people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while nine crore people have received both injections.

Polling hours have been extended by one hour in all states.

The final voter list was published on January 5. There are total of 18.34 crore voters including service voters. Of these, 8.55 crore are women. The Election Commission has tried to increase the number of voters and as a result, Uttar Pradesh has seen an increase among all the states with the highest voter growth.

There are a total of 24.5 lakh such voters who will cast their vote for the first time. Apart from this, there are 30.47 lakh senior citizens. The Election Commission has capped the number of voters per booth to 1,250, as a result of which the number of polling stations has increased to 30,334. In the midst of the Corona crisis, emphasis has been laid on keeping the average number of voters per polling station low.

Chandra said at least one booth in each assembly constituency would be managed exclusively by women.

He said, now it will be mandatory to publish the criminal records of the candidates in local newspapers and television channels at least thrice. Even parties are expected to do the same to their candidates.

Earlier, Chandra said that the commission has set three goals for these elections: COVID-free elections, hassle-free voting experience and maximum voter participation.

The preparations have been going on for at least six months with the Election Commission teams visiting the polled states.

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