Govt allows political gatherings in poll-bound states; masks, social distancing mandatory

Govt allows political gatherings in poll-bound states; masks, social distancing mandatory
By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 6:43:32 pm

Patna: Workers prepare an election campaign rath for Janata Dal (United), ahead of Bihar Assembly polls, in Patna, Tuesday, Oct 6, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Keeping in view the upcoming elections in Bihar and bypolls in certain constituencies, the Centre on Thursday allowed political gatherings to be held in closed spaces with a ceiling of 200 people. In open spaces, the size of the gathering is to be decided based on the size of the ground to ensure social distancing.

The order, issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, however, is only applicable in constituencies going for elections.

The order also modifies the limit set by Ministry of Home Affairs on September 30 for the new phase of Unlock in the month of October. The guidelines had said that political, religious and social gatherings would be allowed only after October 15 with proper standard operating procedures (SoPs) being issued by the Ministry of Health and that these gatherings would not exceed 100 people.

“Election Commission has announced the holding of General Elections in the state of Bihar…and by-elections in eleven states for assembly and parliamentary constituencies. Now, therefore… it is decided that the state governments concerned may permit political gatherings, outside the Containment Zones, beyond the existing limit of 100 persons on any date before 15th October 2020 in those assembly/parliamentary constituencies only, where elections are to be held,” an order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said.

Wearing of masks and thermal scanning of those attending the gathering would be mandatory, it said.

In the order, the government has asked states and Union Territories to allow the above-said relaxations and issue detailed SoPs for the same.

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