Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases, the Election Commission (EC) announced on Saturday. A total of 690 assembly constituencies will go for polls and the counting of votes will be held on March 10. Elections will be held for 403 assembly seats in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand, 60 in Manipur, and 40 in Goa.
With the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding, the commission has set new protocols to ensure "Covid safe" elections to 690 assembly seats across the five states, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra told reporters in New Delhi. He was flanked by election commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey.
In Uttar Pradesh, elections will be held in 403 assembly seats in seven phases from February 10 to March 7. The first phase will be held on February 10, second phase on February 14, third phase on February 20, fourth phase on February 23, fifth phase on February 27, sixth phase on March 3 and seventh phase on March 7. Voting for Manipur assembly polls will be in two phases on February 27 and March 3. Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab will have single-phase voting on February 14.
The Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in the five states with the announcement of elections.
A total of 18.34 crore electors including service voters will take part in this election out of which 8.55 crore are women electors, the EC stated. A total of 24.9 lakh first-time electors are registered in the five states including Uttar Pradesh, the CEC said.
At least one polling booth in each assembly constituency will be exclusively managed by women personnel to encourage women voters. All polling stations will be equipped with COVID-mitigation facilities including sanitisers and masks.
Speaking about COVID-19 concerns related to the elections, the EC stated that more than 15 crore voters in five poll-bound states have got the first dose and over 9 crore both doses. The EC added that opinion of health experts was taken to ensure COVID-safe elections and polling time in all five states will be increased by one hour.
All personnel on election duty will be doubly-vaccinated and also eligible for precautionary third dose to ensure COVID-safe polls, the EC stated.
With PTI inputs