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Can CM Nitish Kumar Guarantee A Proper Follow Up Of Social Distancing Norms Amid Bihar Assembly Elections?

Over the past few months, there have been calls for putting off the Bihar Assembly Election 2020 from the Opposition and Allies both, but to no avail.

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In a country like India, where every 24th hour marks an exponential rise in the current data of Covid-19, with more than 60,000 cases being added every day, you cannot expect its people to behave systematically un-defying something so “crucial” in excitement. Yes! This is what happens in India, a country where no disease gets a “Pandemic” and an “Epidemic” status until there’s a humongous spike in cases and it hampers the normal functioning of the nation.  And to talk of a particular State- Bihar, where often the crowd gets unruly. Now when the State Assembly Elections are knocking at the door, CM Nitish Kumar really has to think of what he precisely calls, doing everything “methodically” could lead him to. Also Read: A Forever Neglected Bihar; State Dealing With Poverty And Pandemic

Keeping a positive notion is a good thing but not when you’re heading a state that is home to people who have in past not obeyed orders and conducting elections amidst a deadly pandemic is only going to be a bad idea and a wrong move defying all precautionary measures.

People in Patna not maintaining Social Distancing while standing in a queue. Image Credit: India TV

According to a report of the “Financial Express” dated 28th August, an opinion was made by an author denouncing the current move of CM Nitish Kumar. Although the Election Commission (EC) has come up with some sensible measures on how the entire election would be conducted, it still seems impossible in a place like Bihar to control the unruly mob that is often overly excited for no good reason.

It’s nearly impossible to maintain social distancing while lining up a hundred people outside a voting booth. To add to it, keeping a check on everybody will also not be possible amidst the election procedures as many in Bihar are reported “asymptomatic”. Moreover, Bihar is just not prone to a surge in Coronavirus cases but most parts of it have been badly affected from the flood water that has destroyed many homes. Approximately, 40 Lakh people remain affected either from the flood or from the deadly Covid-19 that has ripped through the state with the count of active COVID cases nearing to lakhs.

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Also, after being labeled as one of India’s dirtiest places, the State’s capital stands at the number 1 position, highlighting the widened loopholes of the Supreme Governing bodies of Bihar.

State of Patna’s one of the localities where garbage is dumped in the open. Image Credit: DNA India

On Aug 27th The Supreme Court said: “COVID cannot be a ground for postponing elections and interfering in the powers of the Election Commission.” But the question which arises here is,  who is going to take the responsibility of people if they get affected by COVID-19, pertaining to prolonged exposure to infected air, knowing exquisitely that “Community Transmission” in Bihar has already begun. The best example is every day’s new addition in the cases, lack of healthcare system, and the deplorable infrastructure which can be depicted by “Insufficiency of Beds” and poor sanitization.

Ahead of BJP’s Virtual Rally, opponent RJD on-road, opposing. Image Credit: Times of India

Also, it goes beyond one’s imagination that a State that has always lagged behind in discipline unrealizing the gravity of the situation, abiding the citizens under the rules and regulations will be a big task, as a major part of the state’s population comes from an illiterate background, unaware of what harm can a crowd amidst election can result in. To add to it, if a virtual rally is conducted, as from the last ten day’s statistics, it’s unclear as to what part in total is the Bihar election going to rely upon? Because as we already know, half the population in India is without a smartphone or an internet service. Maybe we are in those days where “development” counts upon who can spread their messages better on “Facebook” and “WhatsApp”.

In a report of The Print dated 24th August, a lot of questions were raised with regard to the upcoming Bihar’s Assembly Election making the State the next testing ground to gauge as to how far we excel in Digitalization.

A state which has undergone a harrowing journey in the last few months not only due to Coronavirus or flood but because of the helpless migrants return,  adding to an increase in the state’s unemployment stats. At this juncture, the state should prioritize and take responsibility to counter such problems with lives at stake, rather than devoting the entire state machinery for political benefits.

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Its, therefore, best advised to the CM to recall promises he made five years ago than devising a new set of the script for an unworthy 2020’s election, keeping the already dilapidated Bihar’s healthcare at stake.

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