Polls During a Pandemic - Eastern Mirror
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Polls During a Pandemic

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 25, 2020 11:05 pm

Election fever along with Covid-19 cases are rising hand in hand in Bihar. Thus many important political leaders will not be able to play their designated roles in the forthcoming State Assembly elections. From various quarters, questions are now being raised about the justification of holding the said elections amidst the pandemic. They fear that by the time the election is over, the number of people affected by the virus will have increased manifold and the new government will have to spend its entire energy tackling the menace rather than concentrating on ensuring all-round development of Bihar, which is amongst the poorest states in India.

But those who are opposing the idea of holding elections as scheduled, should be reminded that holding elections is a constitutional obligation and the process should continue as long as the situation is conducive to holding free and fair polls. Moreover, we are now in the unlocking phase which means that the situation is now limping back to normalcy. So, holding elections in such a situation cannot be called a misstep. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued new directives for holding the polls in an effort not to allow the deadly virus to raise its ugly head once again. Including specifications to keep everyone concerned with voting safe.

Despite all the planned measures, if the number of infected people continue to rise, it is simply because of utter negligence shown at the ground level. ECI has specifically mentioned in its directive that social distancing should be maintained and not many people should go out together for campaigning. Reports suggest that ECI’s directive on low key campaigning has not been adhered to at all. It was the usual campaign process even in this time of crisis. According to medical practitioners, as a large number of people gathered during campaigning and leaders could say not to them for fear of an adverse effect on the vote bank, the Covid-19 situation may go out of hand in the coming months in Bihar.

India is the largest functioning democracy in the world and elections will keep on taking place in the country. Covid-19 may be a matter of the past soon, but keeping the Bihar episode in mind, political parties and their leaders should formulate campaigning plans for the future. In this regard, they can take a leaf out of Mizoram. Mizos are known for low key campaigning where the local clubs call electoral aspirants to divulge their plans to serve the people if elected. One should always remember that even after the invention of a vaccine to prevent Covid-19, we will have to follow certain norms for our own safety. Social distancing, wearing masks, etc. are a couple of measures which we should incorporate as daily habits. If we are successful in this regard, a low key election campaign will become the order of the day. If such a change takes place, it will be a boon for India politics as it will bring elections a step closer to being free of money and muscle power.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Oct 25, 2020 11:05:58 pm