Bihar Assembly Election 2020: After postal ballot, Election Commission introduces another big change ahead of polls

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Updated: July 03, 2020 1:27 PM

Bihar has a long history of bahubali leaders joining political parties and then contesting elections.

bihar assembly election 2020EC has asked political parties to follow the SC order on fielding tainted candidates in Bihar Assembly election.

Political parties fielding tainted candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar will have to reveal the reason why such candidates have been given tickets. This would be the first election when the new rule, which mandates the political parties to tell the public the reason behind fielding candidates with criminal records, will be implemented.

The Supreme Court had in February directed that political parties fielding candidates with criminal records must make public why they had been fielded. The SC had ordered to put in the public domain the detailed information about candidates with criminal cases and also pending cases against them. Besides, it had also asked to share the nature of the offences.

The decision was welcomed by the Election Commission of India. The poll body had said that it will make required changes in the rules to implement the top court’s order.

The court had laid the onus on political parties for publicising the information and said that non-compliance to the order will amount to contempt of its directions.

The rules said information should be published in the newspapers within 48 hours of declaration of the candidates list and the same should be submitted with the Election Commission within 72 hours.

Besides publishing such information in local and national newspapers, political parties will also have to display the information on websites and social media platforms.

Bihar will be the first state that will go to polls with the new rules being made mandatory by the Supreme Court. On Thursday, the Election Commission said that people over 65 years of age as well as Covid-19 suspect and affected persons will be eligible to vote through postal ballot. The facility was only available to people with disabilities or those aged above 85 earlier.

Bihar has a long history of bahubali leaders joining political parties and then contesting elections.

During the 2000 Assembly polls, a large number of candidates facing murder and kidnapping charges had won the election. The issue of deteriorating law and order situation was snowballed in the next elections in 2005. Not only the RJD, the ruling BJP and JD(U) are also known to have fielded such candidates into elections.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has written to 150 registered political parties headquartered in Patna, asking them to follow the SC order. Besides, it has also written letters to 2,543 political parties across the country.

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