The Bihar election and by-polls due for assembly and Lok Sabha seats across the country will be held at the same time for logistical reasons, the Election Commission said today.
The Election Commission also said it would announce the Bihar poll dates “at an appropriate time”.
“Considering that the Bihar election is also due and required to be completed before 29th November, Commission has decided to conduct all the 65 by-elections and the Bihar election around the same time. One of the major factors in clubbing them together is the relative ease of movement of the CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) and other law and order forces and related logistics issues,” the election body said.
In Bihar, except Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and the BJP, almost all major political parties have demanded that elections be postponed due to the coronavirus threat.
By-elections are due for 64 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat. These include assembly by-polls to fill 24 seats in Madhya Pradesh, which are vacant since the MLAs switched from the Congress to the BJP.
The switch, which followed Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the Congress, led to the fall of the Kamal Nath government and the BJP’s return to power.
These are the first major elections to be held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Election Commission had earlier announced new rules for elections, which included door-to-door campaigns with only five people, gloves for voters, a maximum of 1,000 voters at any polling booth at a time, and temperature checks.