Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) finally given a nod for carnival celebrations in Goa, albeit with code of conduct specific restrictions, election officials said Wednesday.

The poll panel had granted the permission for hosting of carnival parades in four of Goa's major towns which include Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco, they said. The first carnival parade is due to kick off on Feb 17 from Panaji.

'Officials and politicians are out of bounds from carnival parades,' a poll official quoting a communique from the ECI, which was received by the local polls officials Wednesday.

'The organizing committees also should not have members of political parties or election candidates or government officials,' the official further said, adding that political parties or politicians or candidates were barred from sponsoring these floats.

The delay in the poll panel ruling on the organizing of carnival celebrations had worried local revelers, who had feared that the March 3 polls would lead to the celebrations being cancelled this year round.

Carnival processions are symbolic of Goa's colonial Portuguese legacy and are held here every year before the holy season of Lent.

The festival, which involves a public celebration in form of long continuous parades of gaily coloured floats, with masqueraded dancers, is led by King Momo or king of the carnival, who is a locally chosen secretary.

The increasing popularity of the festival had led the Goa government to include the event in its tourism itinerary.