Former Union minister and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) convenor Yashwant Sinha on Thursday joined a host of political leaders to seek postponement of the Bihar assembly polls in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Polls are due in the months of October-November in the state, which has, till date, recorded 1.15 lakh COVID-19 cases, including 574 deaths.
The Election Commission, however, has not made any official announcement about the poll schedule.
Mr Sinha said that it was an "irony" that political activities have been put on hold for now owing to the rise in number of coronavirus cases, but nothing was being done to delay the elections.
"I am of the view that assembly elections should not be held in the current scenario. Polls should be conducted later," Mr Sinha said.
Except Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and the BJP, of which Mr Sinha was once the national spokesperson, almost all major political parties in Bihar, including NDA constituent LJP, have demanded that elections be postponed.
"What sort of elections would be held under these circumstances? Every polling station will turn out to be a coronavirus infection centre after elections, and it is difficult to predict the extent to which the disease might spread," he said.
The former Union finance minister charged the state government with "hiding actual COVID-19 figures" to impress upon the Election Commission that the infection rate is low.
"Nitish Kumar is afraid that if elections go beyond November 29, President''s rule will be imposed on the state and he will have to relinquish the CM''s post," Mr Sinha claimed.
In reply to a query on virtual meetings and rallies, as undertaken by the BJP in several states, he said: "I do not believe in virtual, I believe in actual. Virtual meetings, rallies are for parties which have
huge resources. These are not meant for parties which are
financially not that strong."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)