After the review meeting here on Saturday, the Election Commission decided to extend the ban on roadshows and rallies till January 31. As the campaign for the first phase of elections will be gathering momentum after January 27-- the last date to withdraw the nomination, political parties can hold physical meetings with a maximum of 500 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the ground. The campaign for the second phase too can be held with these restrictions. The poll panel has also enhanced the limit of the door-to-door campaigns. “Instead of five persons, now 10 persons, excluding security personnel, will be allowed for door to door campaigns,” the Commission said in a release. For indoor meetings, the limit of of 300 persons or 50 per cent of the capacity of the hall will be continued.

The panel has also allowed video vans for publicity at open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers. “The Commission will review these instructions at a subsequent date,” the release added.

The Commission announced the decision after discussions with the Union Health Secretary, Chief Secretaries, Chief Electoral Officers, and Health Secretaries of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the campaign in the State gathered momentum. Union Home minister Amit Shah held a door-to-door campaign in Kairana and said the law and order situation has improved in the State under Yogi Adityanath Government. He said the Government should get a second term to end “politics of appeasement”. Samajwadi Party’s face Akhilesh Yadav announced his decision to contest from Karhal seat in Mainpuri. Addressing reporters, he said if elected, his government will create 22 lakh jobs in the IT sector. He said under his term as Chief Minister between 2012 and 2017, the State Government had made efforts to take the state forward in the IT sector. “HCL was the first to invest in Chak Gajaria Farm here. Had the work done during the SP government been taken forward, Lucknow could have been recognised as an IT hub. But nothing was done later. In the HCL campus, 5,000 people are working and several others could have got indirect jobs,” he said. The BSP released its second list of 51 candidates. “The BSP is fighting alone in UP and Uttarkhand with full strength and preparations but in Punjab it has formed an alliance with Akali Dal. I have full faith that our party will get good results in these two states and its alliance will perform well in Punjab,” BSP leader Mayawati said.