The Bihar Assembly elections expected to be held by the year-end are likely to see a reduced polling percentage compared to the past figures due to the coronavirus pandemic, apart from the usual poll boycott by a section of voters.
Political analysts believe that those infected with coronavirus, medical staff fighting the virus and patients suffering from ailments like hypertension, blood pressure, heart problems, high blood sugar may avoid going out to vote this time due to the fear of the deadly disease.
The voter turnout in the 2015 Assembly elections was 56.5 per cent. It may fall up to 40 per cent this year, many fear.
Ramanuj Prasad, the legislator from Vaishali and Rastriya Janata Dal spokesman, said that the voting percentage may go down this time. “We have a cadre-based party and have already started the door-to-door campaign. Our dedicated voters will reach the polling stations.”
One of worst-hit states, Bihar has recorded over 610 corona deaths. An analysis reveals that a majority of the fatalities had other diseases as well. According to the Health Department data, over 1.22 lakh corona patients have been detected in Bihar.
In the given situation, different political parties vying to gain power will depend on their respective leaders and cadres and dedicated voters.
Prem Ranjan Patel, state spokesperson of the BJP, told IANS: “As per the new guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, there is facility of balloting for senior citizens above 80, corona infected and other patients. Hence, the voter turnout may not go down.”
“We have opted for both virtual and door-to-door campaigns to connect with the voters. In the last virtual rally of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, a staggering 76 lakh persons, party cadres and others joined in through social media platforms,” Patel said.
As of January 2020, Bihar has 7,21,40,945 voters, including 3,80,88,338 males, 3,42,50,262 females and 2,339 transgenders.