Even as the Election Commission has gone ahead with making preparations for the Bihar assembly polls, majority of the political parties in the state except for two ruling NDA partners are not in favour of holding elections at this time of Corona pandemic. This has obviously created a peculiar situation before the poll panel which wants to complete the election process on time.
At present, only the JD-U and the BJP—two key constituents of the ruling NDA in Bihar—want the elections to be held on time. Both are so desperate that they have continued launching stinging attacks on the parties, especially the main Opposition RJD, seeking postponement of elections citing corona pandemic.
“The way the weak students look for excuses to skip examinations, some parties are putting pressure on the postponement of elections citing the corona. Bihar elections are still three months away and none knows for sure what will be the overall situation (corona infection) then,” senior BJP leader and Bihar’s deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said on Sunday. “Corona se darne ki nahin, use harane ki jarooat hai (There is no need for panic, rather efforts should be made to defeat the disease),” he said.
The JD-U, headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar too has taken a similar line and is making fun of the opposition parties demanding poll postponement. “The RJD is scared of losing elections and hence is making such demands. The people of the state have come to understand the difference between the ‘Jungle Raj’ and the ‘Sushasan’ (good governance) and are ready to go with Nitish Kumar again. This has robbed off the sleep of the RJD,” commented JD-U’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh.
The RJD is not the only party seeking deferment of elections, rather a majority of the parties in the state don’t want elections at this time saying bringing the voters to the polling booths could only put their lives in danger.
Given below are the observations of the parties seeking for the postponement of polls:
RJD: Party spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari said the party leadership wants that the elections should not be held during the Corona period. “Even then the elections are held, we will join the poll process with all our might. We want actual campaigning, not virtual or digital ones,” Tiwari said.
Congress: Party spokesperson Premchand Mishra said the current situation is not fit for holding elections. “The Election Commission should take into account the views of all parties. If the present situation continues, they would have to think twice before joining the poll process,” Mishra explained.
Left parties: None of the three Left parties, such as the CPI, CPI-ML and CPIM want elections at this time. “If elections were held in this situation, more people will get infected with coronavirus and the situation will simply go out of control,” said state secretaries of the three parties. Satya Narayan Singh, Kunal and Awadhesh Kumar, secretaries of CPI, CPI-ML and CPIM respectively, even rejected the idea of postal ballots for people above 65 years saying the poor people would get deprived of the voting rights.
LJP: The NDA ally headed by Chirag Paswan has expressed a similar concern. “A huge population will come in the grip of Coronavirus if they were forced to rush to the polling booths, yet we are ready,” said party spokesman Ashraf Ansari.
JAP: Jan Adhkar Party, led by Pappu Yadav, is strictly against holding elections in the current situation. “Our first priority should be to save people’s lives, not to put their lives in danger,” party general secretary Ejaz Ahmed said.
Prashant Kishor: The prominent poll strategist too is totally against holding elections at this time. “This is the time to fight Corona, and not the elections,” Kishor said.