Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Thursday said the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections should be postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, reported PTI. The polls are due by the end of the year.
“I am of the view that Assembly elections should not be held in the current scenario,” Sinha said. “Polls should be conducted later.” Though the Election Commission has not made any official announcement about the poll schedule, it said on Tuesday that it will come up with “broad guidelines” for holding polls amid the pandemic by Friday.
Opposition parties in Bihar such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are opposed to “virtual campaigning”. Nine parties, in a memorandum to the Election Commission, have questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s digital campaign, claiming that it disturbs the level-playing field. Sinha, too, said that virtual meetings and rallies were for parties with huge resources. “These are not meant for parties which are financially not that strong,” he added.
Sinha also warned that the elections could become a super-spreader. “What sort of elections would be held under these circumstances?” he asked. “Every polling station will turn out to be a coronavirus infection centre after elections, and it is difficult to predict the extent to which the disease might spread.” In July, Opposition parties in Bihar had also asked the poll body to ensure that the elections do not become a “coronavirus super-spreader” event.
As of Friday morning, Bihar has a total of 1.14 lakh coronavirus cases. The toll in the state stands at 492.
Sinha, however, alleged that the state government was “hiding actual Covid-19 figures” to give out the impression that the infection rate was low. “Nitish Kumar is afraid that if elections go beyond November 29, President’s rule will be imposed on the state and he will have to relinquish the CM’s post,” said the former Union minister.