Uttar Pradesh will go to polls on February 10, 14, 20, 23 and March 3 and 7; Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand would vote on February 14; while Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 and March 3, said Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra .
The elections would be held following full Covid protocols.
Up to January 15, no physical rallies roadshows, padyatras, or vehicle rallies will be allowed keeping in view the pandemic situation. All parties have been advised to conduct campaigns in virtual mode.
Invoking Article 171 (1), Chandra said that the Assembly tenure has to end in five years and, therefore, elections are necessary.
As per the Covid protocols for conducting elections, all elections officials will be double vaccinated, will be given a booster dose and will also be treated as frontline workers. Booths would be fully sanitised and there will be adequate gloves, sanitizers etc for the polling staff.
More than 15 crore people in the five poll-bound states have received the first dose of the vaccine, while nine crore people have received both the shots.
Polling time has been increased by one hour in all the states.
The final electoral rolls were published on January 5. There are a total of 18.34 crore voters, including service voters. Of these, 8.55 crore are women. The EC has made an effort to increase the number of voters and as a result, all states have seen an increase, with the maximum voter increase in Uttar Pradesh.
There are a total of 24.5 lakh first time electors and 30.47 lakh senior citizens. The EC has capped the number of voters per booth to 1,250, resulting in an increase in the number of polling stations to 30,334 as the average number of voters per polling booth has decreased.
At least one booth in each Assembly constituency will be managed exclusively by women, Chandra said.
"It will now be mandatory to publish criminal records of candidates minimum three times in local newspapers and television channels. Even the parties are expected to do so with their candidates," he said.
Earlier, Chandra said that the Commission has set out three goals for these elections: Covid-free elections, hassle-free voting experience and maximum participation by voters.
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.
ECI has mandated that at least one polling station managed exclusively by women shall be set up in every Assembly constituency. Our officers have identified much more than that. There're 690 Assembly seats but we are setting up 1620 such polling booths.
Senior citizens above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities & Covid 19 patients can vote by postal ballot.
All election officials and employees will be considered as frontline workers and all eligible officers will be vaccinated with 'precautionary dose'.
No physical rally of political parties or probably candidates or any other group related to elections shall be allowed till January 15. ECI should subsequently review the situation and issues further instructions accordingly.
No roadshows, padyatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions shall be allowed till 15th January; situation to be reviewed and fresh instructions to be issued later.
Our cVIGIL application should be used by voters to report any incident of violation of the Model Code of Conduct, distribution of money & freebies. Within 100 minutes of complaint, ECI officials will reach the place of offence.
Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately from announcement of the schedules. Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of the MCC guidelines. Any violation of these guidelines will be strictly dealt with.
It is mandatory for political parties to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases selected as poll candidates. They will also have to give a reason to select the candidate.
EVMs and VVPATs will be utilized in all the polling stations. Election Commission has already made arrangements to ensure an adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of elections.
Uttar Pradesh to go to poll in 7 phases from 10th Feb to 7th March; Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa to vote on 14th February & Manipur to vote on 27th Feb & 3 March; Counting of votes on 10th March.
If the temperature of a voter is above the set norms of Union Health Ministry, the elector will be provided with a token & asked to come for voting at the last hour of poll: CEC Sushil Chandra