AAP to not contest Bihar polls, cites flood, Covid-19 situation

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday announced that it would boycott Bihar’s assembly elections, noting that the twin scourge of Covid-19 pandemic and floods made the situation quite risky for the democratic exercise.

Bihar AAP chief Sushil Kumar Singh said the decision to boycott elections had been taken after seeking the approval of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Never a big player in Bihar politics, the AAP had drawn attention of the people when its workers fanned out with oximeters and were testing and counselling people to take precaution or approach the nearby hospital should their oxygen count be lower than 95%.

“When people are struggling for two square meals and cattle are not getting fodder, schools are closed, there are restrictions on puja celebration and there is still very little economic activity, holding elections and employing six-lakh government employees for it appears dangerous. Does the government guarantee the safety of its six-lakh employees? Six-lakh families mean around 50 lakh people. How can the government assess the number of suspected Covid cases who would vote in the last one hour, when there is still question mark over testing,” said Singh, adding the polls could leave the entire state population vulnerable.

Earlier, the AAP had planned to contest around 100 seats and was also said to be planning to tie up with some smaller parties. Singh said under the prevailing situation the party decided not to contest.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the AAP had contested three seats of Kishanganj, Bhagalpur and Sitamarhi without any success. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the AAP had contested 39 of the 40 seats in Bihar, but could win none. In the 2015 assembly election in Bihar, it did not contest, but backed the anti-BJP group.

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