Time not right for polls in Bihar, says Tejashwi Yadav
With the assembly polls in Bihar just four months away, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the main opposition party in the state, made it clear on Tuesday that it was not in favour of elections being per the schedule in view of the mounting cases of Covid-19 in the state, drawing ridicule from the ruling parties which said the decision was best left to the Election Commission (EC).
Elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly are due in October-November.
“This is not the right time for election... Does Nitish Kumar want to hold election over dead bodies?” Leader of Opposition Tejaswhi Prasad Yadav told reporters.
“There has been an unprecedented increase in Coronavirus infections in the state, but the government seems unconcerned. It seems busy with election preparations. It is hiding figures. If the government doesn’t wake up, the situation may become explosive by August-September,” he warned.
The RJD leader said the situation was just not right for election at this stage in Bihar and that the government needed to focus on the pandemic. “People are not getting proper health care. Coronavirus has reached the CM’s house and the government is busy holding virtual rallies. Why is he in a hurry? Is he afraid of President’s rule getting imposed in the state?” he asked.
The JD-U has been in digital campaigning mode since the beginning of June and has planned virtual rallies in August, starting with the one to be addressed by Nitish Kumar on August 7.
RJD MP Manoj Jha said, “The numbers of corona positive cases is alarming in Bihar despite low testing compared to other states. I would urge the government to keep aside elections for a few months and concentrate on Covid-19.”
Congress MLC and spokesperson Premchandra Mishra said the testing ratio in Bihar, just 2,097 persons per million, was among the lowest in the country. “There is a danger of community spread,” he said.
JD-U spokesman Neeraj Kumar, however, said any decision on elections rested with the EC. “Everyone knows it (coronavirus) is contagious. EC will also consider everything. Tejaswhi needs to look within before giving sermons. He is himself undertaking cycle yatras and addressing people through video conferencing, but asking others to refrain from it,” he said.
State BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said the RJD seemed to be in a mood to evade the electoral field after seeing the writing on the wall. “When, why and how the election will be held is for the EC to decide and RJD should not try to interfere with that. In these times (of pandemic), all the parties and people should work together to deal with it,” he said.