Shimla/Mandi, Jun 23
Election Commission of India is likely to announce the dates of by-election shortly in the state as it would be a razor walk for ECI and political parties to conduct safe electioneering and campaigning in view of the outbreak of Corona pandemic. Even the elections conducted in the past had turned into Corona Virus infection super spreaders events and the ECI had to face snub from High Courts.
The election commission is already working to schedule the by-elections for Mandi Lok Sabha after demise of Former BJP MP Ramswrop Sharma in mysterious circumstances, demise of Former Congress MLA Sujjan Singh Pathania in Fatehpur assembly in Kangra district and Former BJP MLA Narinder Bragta in Jubbal and Kotkhai assembly. Sources in ECI inform that notification for the by-election which is already scheduled could be done in around a weeks time.
Besides, hectic parleys and increasing political presence of prominent faces in the public just before the scheduled by-elections indicate that the politicians want to restore public trust taking advantage of the Corona Window period as early as possible. The way ruling party is in the process of hunting suitable and invincible faces indicates that it has made up its mind to go ahead with the by-poll preparation.
Most important that the ECI or Governments in the state and Centre could be in hurry to conduct early by-elections as the threat of 3rd wave of Covid pandemic is looming large. As per statement of Dr Guleria the AIIMS chief a week before, it may hit in 6-8 weeks.
In the hill state the BJP has advantage to go in for early election inwake of its own government in the State and Centre moreover selections of candidates is easy for the ruling party.
Taking up the case of Mandi parliamentary by-election both the BJP-Congress are hunting for renowned faces. Both the parties are currently burning mid burners to shortlist candidates keeping in view the pandemic and expectedly very less time that might be given for campaigning at the India’s second biggest Parliamentary constituency after Jaisalmer of Rajasthan. Local political experts say that in wake of hard area and tough-terrain no political party could afford to put the novice or green horns in the fray and would field well established leaders. Beside this political parties might not have enough time to even establish man to man direct contact in the entire parliamentary constituency. That’s why the election campaigning will be easy for an established politician as a candidate, they feel.
The parliamentary segment spreads till the tribal areas like Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi and Bharmour of Chamba and Kinnuar and hard areas of Rampur district is not only critical for conducting of poll smoothly, even inclement weather and uncertain weather challenges pose threat. After the month of September it would not be possible to conduct election in a remote area of parliamentary constituency like Lahaul-Spiti. In these conditions election commission would try to complete election process before September end.
Voter’s safety is most important factor and mobilization of polling staff and other concerned persons would definitely threat their safety. So election commission would try to conduct LS seat by-election within minimum possible time period.
Pertinent to mention that number of Covid causalities hit large in the Mandi district vis a vis other areas during last one and half months as people are still exposed and suffering to corona pandemic could not be cake walk for the election commission as well as political parties to go ahead with polls without paying the crisis.
Similarly BJP and Congress want to retain their bastion in Jubbal-Kotkhai and Fatehpur by-poll as well. The elections would be likely to be held in one go due to less safe period in between and impending circumstances.
The pulse of the recent by elections and PRI and Urban Local Bodies elections indicates that it is not a one-sided game for any party when the public mood is in delusion due to losing of their near and dear ones, apathy of political dispensations to handle the crisis ineptly and negligently and economic losses rendered to their livelihood and shutting down of employment avenues and businesses in this most odd time.