Digital campaign plan for Bihar by Election Commission of India opposed by 9 parties
On Friday nine opposition parties met in Delhi opposing the plan of Election Commission to hold only digital campaigning ahead of Bihar Assembly elections as a part of the Covid-19 precautionary measure. This development was an aftermath of EC’s U-turn on its decision to extend postal ballot facility for voters aged above 65 years.
The meeting was attended by Bihar Congress in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil, RJD RS MP Manoj K. Jha, CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharjee, RLSP President Upendra Kushwaha, CPI general secretary D. Raja, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and many other prominent regional opposition leaders.
A joint memorandum was proposed by the parties in opposition to the EC’s decision to cancel all traditional mode of physical campaigning and to go ahead with digital campaign programs in Bihar.
The leaders said that due to latest TRAI stats only 34% of Bihar residents have smart phones, which can pose a barrier in online campaigning.
The memorandum released by opposition parties said, “It will be travesty of unparalleled proportion to officially legitimize a mode of election campaign which is not only severely limiting by its reach but exclusionary by design.”
Parties said that by this rule more than 2/3rd of the electorate would be sidelined during election process.
There was also a question to EC that how they would ensure the election in itself wont lead to massive spreading of the coronavirus infection. “How does the EC plan to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres recommended by the WHO and ICMR and reportedly advocated by the Prime Minister himself?” reported parties in the joint memorandum.