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Assembly elections in UP, Punjab, U'khand, Goa, Manipur from Feb 10
The polling will begin in phases starting on February 10 and the counting of votes will be on March 10. Uttar Pradesh will go to the polls in seven phases on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7. Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand will vote on February 14. Manipur votes in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

NEW DELHI, Jan 8: The Election Commission of India on Saturday announced the schedule for the Assembly elections in the five States of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, beginning February 10. The elections are being held in the midst of a third wave of the covid pandemic sweeping the country. There were 1.41 lakh infection cases in the last 24 hours in the country, a steep climb from 1,17,100 on Thursday.

The five States will vote in phases starting February 10. Counting of votes is scheduled for March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said.

Uttar Pradesh will go to the polls on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3 and March 7, in seven phases. Punjab, Goa, and Uttarakhand will vote on February 14. Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 March 3.

The candidates will have to conduct campaigns through virtual mode.

There are a total of 690 Assembly constituencies going to the polls: UP (403 seats), Punjab (117), Uttarakhand (70), Manipur (60) and Goa (40). There are 18.34 crore voters in all the five States going to the polls, of whom 8.55 crore are women.

UP has 1,74,351 polling booths. It has been raised from 1,64,472 polling booths earlier because of covid. So also the number of voters allowed to vote in a single polling both has been reduced to 1,200 from 1,500 due to covid, in all States. Polling time has been increased by an hour in all the States in order to keep social distancing. The commission asked the States to speed up the vaccination programme.

The EVMs will have VVPATs. All polling booths will be sanitised. The polling staff will have taken the booster dose of covid vaccine, apart from full vaccination.

On Friday, the Commission and the Health Ministry had extensive discussions on the covid situation in the country and how to conduct the campaigns and the polling safely and by following the covid protocol.

The Commission decided not to allow any rallies, road shows, padayatras till January 15. The political parties will provide masks and sanitisers to party workers. Only 5 people will be allowed In door to door campaigns. There will not be any victory procession after the counting.

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