Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will vote over seven phases starting February 10, with counting of votes scheduled for March 10.
Uttar Pradesh will vote in each of the 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 will vote in two phases on February 27 March 3.
A total of 690 Assembly constituencies will vote over the next two months, with the maximum in UP (403 seats) followed by Punjab (117), Uttarakhand (70), Manipur (60) and Goa (40).
The holding of timely election is the “essence of maintaining democratic governance,” the Election Commission said Saturday, clarifying its decision to go ahead with elections in five states amid a sweeping third wave of Covid driven by the Omicron variant.
The Commission said it had decided to go ahead with the polls after detailed discussions with the Union Health Secretary and Home Secretary, experts, and health secretaries of the concerned states.
To ensure safety, the Commission barred physical rallies and meetings till January 15, saying a review will be taken after that since the “ground situation is dynamic”.
Elections in all five states will be held amid a massive surge in Covid cases across the country fuelled in part by the Omicron variant – this morning the Union Health Ministry reported over 1.59 lakh new infections in the last 24 hours.
Concern over the virus spreading further increased after political parties held mega rallies in poll-bound states. These rallies are attended by thousands (many without face masks) and social distancing is entirely absent for such events, which are understandably difficult to control.