Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand will vote over seven phases starting February 10, with counting of votes scheduled for March 10.
Uttar Pradesh will vote in each of the seven phases - on February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3, and March 7.
Punjab, Goa, and Uttarakhand will vote on February 14.
Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 March 3.
A total of 690 Assembly constituencies will vote over the next two months, with the maximum in UP (403 seats) followed by Punjab (117), Uttarakhand (70), Manipur (60) and Goa (40).
The holding of timely election is the "essence of maintaining democratic governance," the Election Commission said Saturday, clarifying its decision to go ahead with elections in five states amid a sweeping third wave of Covid driven by the Omicron variant.
The Commission said it had decided to go ahead with the polls after detailed discussions with the Union Health Secretary and Home Secretary, experts, and health secretaries of the concerned states.
To ensure safety, the Commission barred physical rallies and meetings till January 15, saying a review will be taken after that since the "ground situation is dynamic".
Elections in all five states will be held amid a massive surge in Covid cases across the country fuelled in part by the Omicron variant - this morning the Union Health Ministry reported over 1.59 lakh new infections in the last 24 hours.
Concern over the virus spreading further increased after political parties held mega rallies in poll-bound states. These rallies are attended by thousands (many without face masks) and social distancing is entirely absent for such events, which are understandably difficult to control.
Here are the Highlights on Assembly Election 2022:
Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar on Sunday resigned as a member of the Goa Legislative Assembly, a month ahead of the elections.
He is set to join Congress. The Sanguem MLA submitted his resignation to the Goa Assembly Speaker.
With his resignation, the strength of the 40-member House has been reduced to 33.
Punjab Congress on Sunday hailed the decision by the Election Commission to encourage digital campaigns in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Uttar Pradesh, reported ANI.
President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Navjot Singh Sidhu in a press release today stated, "Today, we kickstart the digital campaign as per the Election Commission guidelines and spoke about unveiling an agenda of Governance reforms primarily through digitisation and making a 'Digital Punjab'."
Ahead of assembly polls in Punjab, the state's Chief Electoral Officer Dr. S Karuna Raju on Sunday confirmed that he has been tested positive for COVID-19, reported ANI.
Punjab will go for polls in 117 Legislative constituencies on February 14 in a single phase.
The news of him getting infected with the virus came just a day after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Assembly Election in five states, including Punjab.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi today tweeted to say that he has tested positive for coronavirus with "fairly strong symptoms". The BJP leader said that he contracted the infection during a visit to Pilibhit, his Lok Sabha constituency, as he appealed to the Election Commission to extend precautionary doses to candidates and political workers involved in the assembly elections that will be held in five states next month.
"After being in Pilibhit for 3 days, I have tested positive for COVID with fairly strong symptoms. We are now in the middle of a third wave and an election campaign. The Election Commission should extend precautionary doses to candidates and political workers as well," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
The Congress in Karnataka on Sunday began its 10 days 'padayatra' (march), demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river, despite the government's COVID-19 restrictions.
Led by Congress' state president D K Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah, the padayatra with the theme 'Namma Neeru Namma Hakku' (Our water, Our right) began at the Sangama, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura here, which will be spanning a distance of over 100 km.
The Election Commission on Saturday cautioned political parties over hate speeches and said it is closely monitoring social media posts to ensure clean assembly polls in five states.
Political parties and their candidates must ensure that their supporters do not indulge in hate speeches and fake news, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said during a press conference to announce the election schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.
At least one polling station managed exclusively by women will be set up in every assembly constituency to the extent possible in the five states for which elections were announced on Saturday.
The Election Commission said as part of its firm commitment towards gender equality and greater constructive participation of women in the electoral process, it has directed that, to the extent possible, at least one polling station managed exclusively by women will be set up in every assembly constituency in Goa, Manipur, Punjab Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
In such polling stations, all election staff, including police and security personnel, will be women.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Sunday claimed that incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will lose upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls if they contest the elections without misusing government machinery or manipulating voting machinery.
"Fear of the Election Commission is necessary in the government machinery. EC must ensure free and fair elections...BJP will lose this election if they will not misuse government machinery and not manipulate the voting machines," said Mayawati while addressing a press conference today.
BSP chief Mayawati on Saturday welcomed the announcement of dates for the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and four other states but urged the Election Commission to check the "tendency" in the ruling BJP of "violating" the model code of conduct.
The Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases, the schedule for which was announced by the Election Commission on Saturday.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, the BSP president welcomed the announcement and expressed faith that the poll panel will ensure smooth, free and fair elections.
However, she called for steps to check the "tendency" in the ruling party to "violate" the model code of conduct.
Congress leader and Uttar Pradesh party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday said that Congress has cancelled its election rallies due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Taking a dig at the BJP, Priyanka Gandhi said that development in a state cannot happen by inaugurating airports before elections. "Unemployed youth, farmers, women, poor are all troubled. Development did not reach up to them."