As Bihar Battles Twin Disasters of Floods & Virus, Several Political Parties Want Polls Postponed

Several political parties in Bihar want the assembly election in the state to be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus and the flood situation. Bihar on Saturday recorded its biggest spike in Covid-19 cases even as floods claimed two more lives in the state, taking the death toll to 13, while the number of people affected by the calamity inched closer to 50 lakh.

The Election Commission had requested suggestions from the state's political parties about whether or not to hold elections amid the on-ground situation, states a report by the Hindustan Times. Now, several parties except for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling Janata Dal (United) want the elections to be postponed, the report added.

Seven national and 43 regional parties have replied to the poll panel. Even the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which is a BJP ally, is not in favour of holding elections amid the current scenario. The party had written to the Election Commission against holding the Bihar assembly polls in October-November, when they are due, saying it will otherwise amount to deliberately "pushing people towards death".

While the Congress and RJD had already wanted the polls to be postponed, on the other hand, BJP and JD(U) said that they are prepared for the elections, and have left the final decision on EC.

According to the bulletin issued by the state disaster management on Saturday, two fresh casualties were reported from Muzaffarpur district. Earlier, Darbhanga and West Champaran had reported seven and four deaths respectively. The number of people affected by the floods, across 14 districts, stood at 49.05 lakh, up from 45.39 lakh on Friday. The number of affected panchayats too has risen to 1,043 from 1,012 on the previous day.

According to the department, the state has received a total average rainfall of 768.5 mm since the onset of monsoon, which was 46 per cent above normal. This has led to a rise in water levels of most rivers flowing through the state, especially those originating in Nepal and crisscrossing the northern districts, known for bringing along huge deposits of silt.

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