Oppositions—which staunchly objected to virtual rallies as a mode of election campaign suggested by Election Commission in June 2020 before Assembly Elections in Bihar—are brutally attacking BJP, particularly PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah for conducting physical rallies during pandemic in West Bengal and other four states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry, which are going to poll in phases at present.
However, the narrative reached common citizens, unaware of opposition’s ploy, they too questioned, “why didn’t political parties hold digital campaigns, instead of physical campaigning?”
The nation had been under continuous LOCKDOWN since 25 March to 31 May 2020, due to Covid-19. Partial UNLOCK started from 1 June 2020 after slight decline in Covid-19 positive cases. Election Commission was to conduct 17th Bihar Legislative Assembly in the month of October and November 2020. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission had suggested to political parties that virtual rallies and campaigning through social media were an option to reach their voters.
Instead of being sensitive and considerate to pandemic in the country, nine opposition parties categorically opposed the Election Commission’s move to hold only a digital campaign for Bihar Assembly election. However, it was BJP, which conducted digital rallies throughout June to support digital mode of campaigning. Nine opposition parties including CPI, CPI(M), RJD, NCP, BSP and RLSP had argued that as per TRAI only 34% of voters in Bihar had a smartphone, hence they would not be able to reach the last voters. Bihar opposition parties also complained that they can’t match BJP’s digital rallies, hence, they must be allowed traditional rallies.
Oppositions’ behaviour poses some tough questions. Why did opposition parties suddenly grow concerned about Covid-19 pandemic during the West Bengal Election campaign? Why are they attacking BJP, Modi and Amit Shah, who supported digital rallies? Are swelling crowds at PM Modi’s rallies disturbing oppositions? Are they at risk of losing election in West Bengal and other states? Till then, they were blaming EVM for BJP to win elections. Is blaming Election Rallies, which oppositions supported, new propaganda to target Modi and Shah duo?
Besides backing digital campaigning before the Bihar Assembly election, it was BJP led by Narendra Modi, who has been pitching for One Nation, One Election. On Constitution Day on 26 November last year, PM Narendra Modi said that it was necessary for the country to club Lok Sabha Polls with Assembly Polls to save resources and time. He insisted that since, there is an election in India every now and then, it hampers development work in the country. “One voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections. Why should the country waste time and money?” He asked from different legislatures attending the Constitution Day. PM Modi has been pitching for One Nation, One Election for a long time.
But, no political party supported One Nation, One Election to save resources and time of nation, due to recurring Assembly Elections in the country, as they feared policy of One Nation, One Election would benefit BJP more than them because the party had done exceptionally well in 2014 and 2019 General Election.
The political parties, which are shouting hoarse attacking PM Modi and HM Amit Shah for holding physical rallies, never supported the idea of digital campaigning by Election Commission to protect the citizens from Covid-19 pandemic, never supported the policy of One Nation, One Election to save the resources of the nation.
If the opposition parties would have supported virtual campaigning offered by Election Commissioner in Bihar Assembly Election in 2020, today, political parties would have conducted virtual rallies as a mode of election campaign in West Bengal Assembly Election. If opposition parties would have supported PM Modi for One Nation, One Election, today Election Commission would not have to conduct West Bengal Assembly Election during pandemic, saving resources of the country as well as protecting common citizens from pandemic.
Instead of crying like a sore loser, would the opposition answer why they didn’t approve digital campaigning before the Bihar Election? Why didn’t they back One Nation, One Election?
More important questions: Would oppositions support digital rallies in future Assembly Elections until Covid-19 is defeated completely? Do they really care for common citizens’ well-being, because it is they who had cribbed and complained against LOCKDOWN imposed to protect common citizens from Covid-19?
Would opposition parties support PM Modi’s move for One Nation, One Election, which would prevent Election Commission from conducting Assembly Election every now and then? Do oppositions really want to save resources and time for the nation?