On Monday, the Rashtravadi Janata Party- a registered political party moved the Supreme Court seeking the postponement of the Bihar Assembly election, scheduled to be held in October-November 2020. To buttress its point, the party cited the COVID-19 crisis and the flood situation in the state. Mentioning that millions of people in Bihar have become homeless due to the floods, the petitioner argued that it was the responsibility of the government to think about the safety of its citizens.
It also mentioned that no decision had been taken on a representation submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner on June 30. The Election Commission of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Bihar's Chief Electoral Officer and the state government have been named as the respondents in the petition. The Rashtravadi Janata Party urged the SC to direct the respondents to conduct the Bihar Assembly polls in March 2021.
The ECI on September 4 announced that the Bihar Assembly polls and 65 by-elections in various states shall be clubbed together. While there are 64 vacancies in State Legislative Assemblies, the bypoll to one Lok Sabha seat is also pending. Chief Electoral Officers of the concerned dates have sought deferment of the elections citing several factors such as extraordinary heavy rains and the COVID-19 situation.
At the same time, the ECI noted that Bihar Assembly polls have to be completed before November 29, 2020. According to the Commission, conducting all the aforesaid elections at the same time will facilitate the movement of Central Armed Police Forces and related logistics issues. In a statement, the ECI said that the schedule of these polls will be announced at an "appropriate time".
....Regarding holding of by-elections due in various states... https://t.co/S3D6IID3y9— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) September 4, 2020
The Bihar Assembly election is expected to take place in October-November 2020. In the 2015 state polls, the Mahagatbandhan comprising RJD, JD(U) and Congress won a whopping majority with 178 seats in the 243-member Assembly under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. On the other hand, the BJP-led alliance won from only 58 constituencies.
However, a power tussle in the ruling alliance kicked off with Tejashwi Yadav's elevation as the Deputy Chief Minister and RJD's role as the single-largest party in the Bihar Assembly. On July 26, 2017, Nitish Kumar stepped down as the CM citing irreconcilable differences with RJD over corruption allegations against Tejashwi Yadav. After BJP extended support to its former ally, Kumar again took oath as the CM. The BJP top brass has consistently maintained that the JD(U) president will be the alliance's CM face in the upcoming Assembly polls.