In view of the upcoming assembly elections in five states, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has imposed a ban on conducting and publishing exit polls between 10 February and 7 March. “The Election Commission hereby notifies the period between 7 am 10 February and 6.30 pm 7 March as the period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing by means of the print or electronic media or dissemination in any other manner whatsoever, the result of any exit poll in connection with the General Elections, shall be prohibited,” said the authority in a new order.“It is further clarified that displaying any election matter, including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited during the period of 48 hours ending with the hours fixed for conclusion of poll in the respective polling areas in connection with General elections,” it added. Any person who violates the order will be punished with a two-year jail term or fine or both. Earlier this month, the EC had extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till 31 January in the five poll-going states but allowed public meetings with a maximum of 500 people in the constituencies going to poll in the first two phases and relaxed door-to-door campaign rules.In a statement, it said the limit of five persons for door-to-door campaign has now been enhanced to 10 persons, excluding security personnel.For the phase 1 polling on 10 February, political parties and contesting candidates can hold "physical public meetings" with a cap of 500 people from 28 January. For the phase 2 polling on 14 February, such meetings can be held from 1 February.Video vans for publicity have also been permitted at designated open spaces with Covid-19 restrictions.Announcing the dates for elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on 8 January, the poll panel had announced a ban on physical rallies, roadshows and bike rallies and similar campaign events till 15 January.On 15 January, the commission extended the ban until 22 January.Elections in Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases from 10 February.