Election Commission of India (ECI) on September 25th announced the dates of Bihar elections. According to the ECI, the elections will be conducted in three phases, first on October 28, then November 3 and November 7. This will be the first major event happening in the country from the past six months due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, ECI should rethink conducting elections amidst pandemic because it will be very dangerous and risky and transmission of COVID is very rapid and the vaccine is not in the market yet. Also, we don’t have any fixed date of when will the vaccines be launch as several vaccines are in the clinical trial phase.
Furthermore, cases are on a spike on an everyday basis. It is anticipated that India will surpass the United States in the coming month as the most and worst affected country in the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government at the center has started unlocking the nation to get the badly hit economy back on track and to restart the economic cycle.
In fact, earlier the government had conducted nationwide exams of JEE and NEET. During that, we observed several stories of people not following social distancing norms. Candidates had to face a lot of hurdles to reach the exam center and other such issues. And now ECI has announced the elections in Bihar.
Is it important to conduct elections in the pandemic is a question we should think about that risking lives of so many people. Every time government is questioned about this it says, that the fatality rate in India is low compared to other countries but that can’t be the reason you put people’s lives at stake. As of September 25th Bihar has reported more than 174,000 COVID cases.
Also as her report, Bihar has the weakest public health system. Maintaining social distancing practically will be a difficult task. So many staff will be indulged in the process of conducting elections keeping in mind their safety is also equally important. The government has said that senior citizens should avoid getting out of their house as their more likely to get affected by COVID so is it healthy enough for them to come out and vote? The other question is how will the people who are in the containment zone come and vote?
Thus ECI should rethink its decision, otherwise, India should keep itself ready for a surge in more COVID cases and it’s after-effects.