While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday demanded a five-phase election in Jharkhand, all the remaining political parties, including BJP’s ally AJSU-party, sought elections in a single phase here during a meeting with the representatives of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
BJP’s State General Secretary Deepak Prakash, who met the three-member ECI team to put forth the demands of the party, said that the party has requested the ECI to hold elections in at least five phases in Jharkhand. Besides, the party has also asked the ECI to take initiatives for preventing illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from casting votes during the elections.
“We have requested the ECI to conduct the elections in five phases. Also, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants should be prevented from casting votes during the elections,” said Prakash, highlighting the important points from a memorandum of 13 points, which the party handed over to the ECI team.
The BJP, which has been on a mission to identify illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, has repeatedly raised concern over the growing number of Bangladeshi settlers in Santhal Pargana – a region politically dominated by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Chief Minister Raghubar Das too has spoken about the issue in many of his public addresses.
Assembly elections were held in five phases in Jharkhand in 2014. Riding the Modi wave, the BJP became the first ever party to form a majority Government in Jharkhand back then. The BJP advocates that the elections must be conducted in five phases in order to maintain law and order.After meeting the ECI team on Thursday, Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee’s (JPCC) Alok Dubey told media persons that the party has asked the ECI to conduct elections here in one phase.
“If we can have single phase elections in bigger states like Maharashtra and Haryana, then why not Jharkhand?” he asked, adding that the BJP’s demand for elections in five phases was evidence to the poor law and order situation in the State.
The Congress party also asked the ECI to prohibit entry of under trial legislators and legislators with criminal records in the assembly. Besides, the party told the ECI team that in order to make polling booths accessible, the commission must ensure that no voter has to travel for more than one kilometer in order to cast his vote. Besides demanding a single phase election in Jharkhand, the
JMM expressed its concern over the alleged sycophancy of many Government officials towards the ruling party and how it was evident in social media activities.
“There should not be any problem in holding elections here in one phase. I don’t know why the BJP wants to unnecessarily stretch the election process. The display of loyalty for the ruling party by some Government officials on social media is also a major concern and needs to be addressed before elections,” said JMM’s General Secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which currently has no legislators in the State, also pointed out to the ECI that there was a need for a scanner on the misuse of administrative authority during elections.Former Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto-led AJSU-party went against its ally in the incumbent Government and demanded elections in a single phase. The party also asked the ECI to pay special attention to deployment of security forces and monitoring of the EVM machines.