Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
ANI photo

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and the floods in Bihar, seven national and 43 regional parties, except Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling Janata Dal (United), had asked the Election Commission to postpone the state polls.

BJP's ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan had written a letter to EC and asked for the same. "The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a formidable form. Experts believe by October-November, its effect in Bihar will be worse. At this time, our priority should be to save people's lives, not to conduct elections...A big chunk of Bihar is hit by floods. Conducting elections as per the ICMR's guidelines will be extremely difficult," Paswan wrote.

However, the Election Commission has rejected the demand of the political parties to postpone the Assembly elections in Bihar.

Speaking to India Today, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that Bihar Assembly Elections 2020 will be held as per schedule.

"There are various guidelines in place to contain the spread of the virus and the electoral process would also have to conform to these to facilitate the elections. Necessary preparations to conduct Bihar Assembly Elections in time are underway at the Election Commission, state and district level," Arora said.

"EC's paramount concern is to ensure the safety of the health of voters and all involved in the conduct of elections while adhering to timelines and SOPs of the electoral process. Since elections are being held during a pandemic, all instructions for electoral processes would be suitably modified to ensure requisite arrangements of social distancing, sanitisation, disinfection, and masks/gloves etc," he added.

The Election Commissioner further said that various steps have been taken for a smooth election process, including an increase in the number of polling stations and a limited number of electors per polling station.

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