Team HeraldTeam HeraldPanjim: The Election Commission of India (ECI) Saturday announced the schedule for the assembly elections in Goa. Goans will vote on Feb 14 along with Punjab, Uttarakhand, and UP, in the second phase of the seven-phase elections in five states Elections will also be held in Manipur.The counting of votes will take place on March 10The formal notification will be issued on January 21. The last date for filing nominations will be January 28. Scrutiny of nomination will take place on January 29. Jan 31 is the last date for the withdrawal of nominationsThe EC also made it clear that No roadshows, padayatras, cycle, or bike rallies and processions shall be allowed till January 15 in view of the Covid situation. The situation will be reviewed and fresh instructions to be issued later, CEC said. He also said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately from the announcement of the schedules.Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that candidates with criminal cases had to ensure “Mandatory publicity” in newspapers and through TV on three occasions during the campaign period. Political parties have to give reasons, on the home page of their website why a candidate with a criminal background was given a ticket."CEC Chandra said there will be more than one lakh polling stations in the five states.60 per cent of polling stations will have webcasting, he said.CEC Chandra said expenditure monitoring will be done. Goa and Manipur will see an increase in election expenditure per candidate to Rs 28 lakhs. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Punjab will see an increase in per candidate expenditure to Rs 40 lakhs. There will be 1,620 polling stations that will be manned by women staff, the CEC said. There will be a postal ballot facility available for senior citizens (80+), PWDs with disability certificates, and Covid affected. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra says, "We have to conduct elections in a way which saves voters and parties.""We have been working on election preparedness for the past 6 months. Keeping OMICRON in view we will take all precautions possible," he said.n view of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the EC held several meetings with the Union health secretary and members of the Covid task force. The EC has stressed speeding up the vaccination program in the poll-bound states.