Villagers wade through a flooded location following perpetual rain, in Saharsa district on July 31, 2020.|Picture Credit:
Chirag Paswan states holding elections at such an hour will imply knowingly endangering individuals’s lives.
With the double whammy of COVID-19 pandemic and floods, Bihar is not in a position to hold Assembly elections at present, key NDA ally Lok Janshakti Party informed the Election Commission on Friday.
The LJP was replying to a letter sent out by the EC on July 17 to all political celebrations in Bihar, seeking their views on holding the Assembly elections in the time of the pandemic. The Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, together with 8 others, in a joint memorandum to the EC, had actually flagged the level of spread of coronavirus in the State, though the parties did not openly demand for delaying the elections.
In a highly worded two-page letter, LJP president Chirag Paswan stated holding elections at such an hour would suggest “intentionally” endangering people’s lives. Mr. Paswan said the COVID pandemic had actually currently taken an enormous percentage in the State and if professionals were to be thought, it might peak in October-November. The 2015 Assembly elections were held over 5 stages from the last week of October to November very first week. He said the State administration, at such a time, should focus on updating the existing health facilities.
In addition to the pandemic, Bihar is presently battling with floods. Out of the 38 districts in the State, 13 are affected. “Under these scenarios, it would be difficult to perform elections while sticking to the suggestions of the WHO and the ICMR,” Mr. Paswan wrote.
The LJP chief said elections were not a “one-day” affair. Political parties had to hold project, that included public conferences, pada yatras and none of these were possible amidst the constraints due to the pandemic. The LJP also maintained that digital campaigning was not possible in the State since a large proportion of voters did not have a mobile phone and over-reliance on digital campaign would indicate keeping them out of the process.
Even on the day of ballot, nearly 4-5 lakh federal government authorities and others including party agents would be deployed at the 75,000 polling cubicles. To preserve physical range in these cubicles would be an obstacle, Mr. Paswan said. Not only the State administration, Central requires too would be posted for the smooth conduct of polls. Their lives would likewise be put in peril, he stated.
The elections would put unneeded stress on the State’s already overstretched finances, Mr. Paswan said. He recommended that the elections be deferred till the situation improved.