Bihar assembly polls watershed moment in post-Covid world, says CEC Sunil Arora
The top election official highlighted that several election bodies across democracies faced a tough predicament last year.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Friday called the Bihar assembly elections held last year as the watershed moment in the post-Covid world. Addressing a press conference to announce the assembly election schedule of four poll-bound states and one Union territory, Arora said that 2020 ushered into resilience and solidarity as the country battled the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
The top election official highlighted that several election bodies across democracies faced a tough predicament last year when the entire world was confronted with an unprecedented health crisis. He said that they had to balance the democratic rights of citizens to choose their representatives while also preserving and protecting their health.
Arora noted that many countries took the courageous route of holding polls, with some adjustment in the election schedule and other safety precautions. He said though the election commission started trials with polls on 18 seats of Rajya Sabha, the major challenge was Bihar assembly elections.
“With 7.3 crore electorate of Bihar, it was indeed a watershed moment for ECI. It proved to be a kind of litmus test,” he said, adding that the electorate reposed their confidence in the extensive sanitisation and health safety measures put in place at polling stations.
‘I would be failing in my duty if I don't tell you that many of our collectors suffered from covid in Bihar, rejoined their duties and saw the process through,” he further stated.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule for the upcoming assembly elections in four states - Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala - and the Union territory of Puducherry. Single-phase polling will be held in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on April 6, while Assam and West Bengal will go to polls in various phases starting March 27. The counting of votes for all assembly elections will be held on May 2.