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The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday banned roadshows and bike/cycle rallies in poll-bound West Bengal in light of the second wave of Covid-19 infections. Polling for the two remaining phases of the Bengal assembly elections is to be held on April 26 and April 29.

In an order, the EC invoked its plenary powers under Article 324 to prohibit roadshows, pad yatras, and cycle/bike/vehicle rallies effective immediately.

The Commission also restricted the limit of persons at any public meeting to 500 for the remainder of the West Bengal assembly elections. Such public meetings will be allowed as per availability of adequate space with social distancing and adherence to Covid-19 safety norms.

Permission for roadshows or bike rallies, if granted already, stands withdrawn. At the same time, permissions for public meetings, if granted already, will be modified as per the latest order.

The EC also stated in its order that "many political parties/candidates are still not adhering to the prescribed safety norms during public gatherings".
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