It’s wedding versus Lok Sabha Elections in Bihar for next two months
In Bihar, polling is due on April 11, 18, 23, 29 and May 12 and 19. This means there will be four days, April 18, April 23, May 12 and May 19, when the polling day will also see a number of wedding functions across the state.Updated: Mar 14, 2019 11:23 IST
The Election Commission of India’s (ECI) efforts to keep the polling process, right from filing of nominations till voting, a low key affair is set to face a challenge in Bihar where a number of wedding dates fall in April and May, the two months during which polling for the Lok Sabha election is scheduled in seven phases.
Take this: In April, there are 12 wedding dates (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26) and in May, there are 15 auspicious dates to tie the nuptial knot (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 23). Owing to kharmas (inauspicious period), the weddings were on hold till January 14 this year. It again picked in February, but March saw just a few wedding dates.
In Bihar, polling is due on April 11, 18, 23, 29 and May 12 and 19. This means there will be four days, April 18, April 23, May 12 and May 19, when the polling day will also see a number of wedding functions across the state.
For the baraat parties, seizure of commercial vehicles by the state government for election purposes would certainly dim their celebrations. The baraat parties in urban areas usually move on SUVs and luxurious cars, but in rural areas, they generally prefer commercial vehicles, including buses and tractors.
An election official preferring anonymity said no private vehicle would not be seized owing to a Patna high court order. “Even in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the private vehicles were not seized,” he said.
The state government, under Representation of the People Act, 1951, is vested with power to requisition premises and vehicles for election purposes.
Dhiraj Gupta, who has fixed his son’s wedding on April 16, said the transporter, after much persuasion, had agreed to ferry baraatis to Darbhanga but was demanding some extra amount.
However, another transporter from Patna, Niraj Kumar, said there won’t be any problem for him as the government also offered handsome rates for seizures. “Now, the payment is fast and is credited into the bank account,” he said. “For the government, supply of vehicles would be more than the demand.”
Another problem because of clash of poll dates with wedding days would be of premises. Both in urban and rural areas, the state government keeps government buildings, including schools and panchayat community halls, to either station security forces or for the storage of ballot boxes. The baraat parties in rural areas stay mostly in these buildings during the wedding day.
Also, in rural pockets, baraatis may be deprived of the customary orchestra or dance performance as the district magistrate-cum-returning officer has banned use of loudspeaker from 10 pm to 6 am with model code of conduct coming into force.
Besides, the clash of weddings with polling dates may see less participation of people in the elections. “Many won’t have the time to participate in the voting exercise if there is a wedding in the family or neighbourhood the same day as it is a lifetime occasion,” said a poll official.
12 wedding dates in April
15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
15 wedding dates in May
1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 23
4 wedding dates clash with polling
April 18, April 23, May 12 and May 19
What may spoil the fun
Seizure of commercial vehicles hired to ferry baraatis
Vehicle owners hiking charges for hire by wedding parties
Govt buildings like schools and panchayat halls, used by wedding guests for night halt, may be taken over for stationing security forces or storing ballot boxes
Ban on use of loudspeaker from 10 pm to 6 am may deprive baraatis of customary orchestra or dance performance
First Published: Mar 14, 2019 11:22 IST