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Joint electoral officer of Manipur, Ramananda Nongmeikapam, on January 31 said that in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission has provided the facilities of online nominations through the Suvidha portal.

According to the electoral officer, an intending candidate may submit applications online and its print may be taken for submitting before the returning officer.

“The candidate may also deposit security money through online mode. However, a candidate will continue to have the option of deposit in cash to the returning officer. A candidate can also seek permission for meeting, door-to-door campaign in online mode,” the Manipur officer said.

Besides, the number of persons to accompany a candidate for submission of nomination paper is restricted to two. Also, the maximum number of vehicles for the purpose of nomination is restricted to two.

Candidates and their companions shall abide by the norms specified by Election Commission and State Disaster Management Authority.

Training on online nomination has been provided to all the returning officers on January 31 through video conferencing, the officer added.

Meanwhile, the electoral officer said that notifications of elections for the first phase in respect of 38 assembly constituencies in 5 districts of Manipur – Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Kangpokpi will be issued by the concerned returning officers on February 1.

Subsequently, nomination shall start from February 1 onwards till February 8. The scrutiny of nomination papers shall be taken up on February 9 while the last date for withdrawal of candidature will be February 11. Poll for the first phase in Manipur will take place on February 27.

The Election Commission of India, in its press note issued on January 31, has decided to allow physical public meetings of political parties or contesting candidates in designated open spaces with a maximum of 1,000 persons (instead of existing 500 persons) or 50% of the capacity of the ground or the prescribed limit set by SDMA, whichever number is lesser, from February 1, for all phases.

The commission has also enhanced the limit for door-to-door campaigns upto 20 persons, excluding security personnel. The commission has now granted relaxation for the political parties to the extent that indoor meetings of a maximum of 500 persons (instead of existing 300 persons) or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by SDMA is allowed.

However, the commission has continued to impose restrictions on road shows, pad-yatras, cycle/bike/vehicle rallies and processions till February 11.

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