Elections are to be held for 403 assembly seats in UP, 117 in Punjab, 70 in Uttarakhand 60 in Manipur and 40 in Goa, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra announced on Saturday (December 8). Around 24.9 lakh first-time electors are registered in the five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. “We aim to conduct Covid- safe elections in five states with maximum voter participation with extensive preparations,” the Election Commission said.

The Chief Election Commissioner said that the assembly elections in all five states will be completed in total seven phases and will be held between February 10 and March 7. He added that the result will come out on March 10. Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa to vote on February 14 in one phase and Manipur to vote on February 27 and March 3. UP will vote in 7 phases on these dates: February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27; March 3 and 7.

Here are some key announcements made by the Chief Election Commissioner:

Senior citizens above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities & COVID19 patients can vote by postal ballot.

More than 18 crore voters, including over 8.5 crore
women will be eligible to vote in five state assembly polls. All polling stations will be equipped with Covid- mitigation facilities includ- ing sanitisers and masks; Number of booths increased.

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At least one polling booth in each Assembly constituency will be exclusively managed by women personnel to encourage women voters.

Candidates contesting polls will be given an option for online nomination

Comprehensive plan of action in place to ensure in- ducement-free elections in all five states.

Any violation of model code of conduct, coming into effect with announcement of election schedule, will be strictly dealt with Polling stations identified where voting percentage was lower than earlier years or below average to take corrective measures.

All personnel on election duty will be doubly vaccinated and also eligible for precautionary third dose to ensure Covid-safe polls. Opinion of health experts taken to ensure Covid-safe elections; Polling time in all five states to be increased by one hour.Political parties and candidates advised to conduct their election. campaign in digital or virtual modes as much as possible.

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