Candidates preparing for the upcoming state assembly polls/bypolls in 12 states will get a chance to hold rallies with immediate effect, as per the new Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) COVID-19 guidelines issued on Thursday.
The MHA had earlier issued COVID-19 guidelines on September 30 with an eye on 12 poll-bound states.
The new MHA rules allow political rallies in these states. The earlier rules had prohibited public gatherings till October 15.
The fresh set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) will have an effect on Bihar’s election preparations because as per the September 30 guidelines, political parties were not allowed to hold large gatherings and rallies due to COVID-19.
The home ministry has urged all political parties to make sure the new guidelines are followed to the hilt to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
The by-elections to 54 assembly seats will be held across 10 states on November 3. Besides, one Parliamentary constituency in Bihar and two assembly seats from Manipur will to polls on November 7. The counting of votes will be held on November 10.
The list of states where elections will be held includes Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
The maximum number of seats going to bypolls is from Madhya Pradesh, where a chunk of seats fell vacant as Jyotiraditya Scindia switched camp from the Congress to the BJP with his loyalists. Twenty-seven seats will be up for election in the state.
Madhya Pradesh is followed by Gujarat, where eight seats will go to polls and Uttar Pradesh, where the corresponding number is seven. The three-phase Bihar assembly elections will start on October 28.