Bihar is the first and only state that will go to polls this year in the midst of the pandemic. The state is slated to go to polls in October-November.
The Election Commission of India has rejected the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s suggestion for holding the upcoming Assembly elections via ballot papers. According to a report in The Indian Express, an ECI official said that the poll panel was not considering the proposal.
“That (ballot box) is a closed chapter. We are not considering it,” a senior EC official told the daily when asked whether the poll panel is considering RJD’s idea.
The RJD has written a letter to the Election Commission of India wherein it urged the poll panel to defer the elections in view of twin problems that has rocked the state of Bihar — a spurt in coronavirus cases and flood in the northern part of the state.
The RJD, however, said that if the elections are held at the scheduled time, the Election Commission should use ballot papers and limit the voters at a polling booth to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.
The RJD’s letter dated July 30 offered the idea while citing a research claiming that coronavirus stays on plastic and metal surfaces for days.
“Studies and research show that that virus stays for several days on plastic and metal surfaces. In such a situation will elections by EVM be able to stop the danger of virus spread? Will paper ballots not be a safer alternative?” the RJD asked.
“If a decision is made to hold elections, then for public health and interest they should be held by paper ballots,” it stated.
The RJD also suggested to the Election Commission to reduce voters per booth if elections are held on time. While underlining that the ECI recently said that there will be 1,000 voters per booth, the RJD urged the poll panel to fix the upper limit of voters per booth at 250 voters.
The Election Commission had earlier said that it is preparing to hold assembly elections in Bihar on schedule amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The ECI even held meetings with the political parties as a part of its preparation for the polls.
The opposition parties including ruling NDA’s ally LJP have already urged the Election Commission to defer the elections in the state in view of the pandemic, saying it would put lives of millions at risk.
Bihar is the first and only state that will go to polls this year in the midst of the pandemic. The Election Commission had in 2015 announced the dates on September 9.
The state is slated to go to polls in October-November. The term of the Legislative Assembly expires on November 29.