New Delhi: The decision of the Election Commission to allow parties to use video vans for campaigning in poll-bound states comes with a series of stringent dos and don’ts, including the one which states that the vehicle cannot stop at any ”viewing point” for more than 30 minutes.
While extending the ban on physical election rallies till January 31 to curb the spread of COVID-19, the EC had on Saturday allowed video vans for publicity with usual COVID-19 restrictions at designated open spaces with a maximum of 500 viewers.
It had cautioned that the video van events should not cause inconvenience to the people and should not be a hindrance to the smooth flow of traffic.
After allowing the use of video vans on Saturday, the Commission had issued instructions to its chief electoral officers on the use of such vehicles for campaigning by parties.
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”The video van of the political party should be used to propagate its program and policies to seek votes. Votes or support for of any particular candidate should not be solicited,” the EC letter to the CEOs read.
However, if the video van is used for seeking votes or support for a candidate, then the expenditure of the video van should be accounted for by such a candidate appropriately. ”Expenditure observers to closely monitor this,” the letter underlined.
The vans can only be operated between 8 AM and 8 PM and these vehicles cannot be used for rallies and roadshows.
The parties are barred to display their campaigning material through these vehicles in market areas or crowded places.
It will be the responsibility of the political party to ensure that the maximum stoppage for viewing of the vehicle at any location is not more than 30 minutes, it said. Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa, and Uttarakhand.