The Bihar assembly election is likely to take place after the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
At a meeting with the Election Commission, home ministry officials today said that they will be pre-occupied with the security arrangements for the CWG and a large section of the central para-military forces will be deployed in the capital. This would virtually make it impossible to deploy additional forces in Bihar — a state where a large part is declared as Naxal-affected.
The home ministry said it would prefer if the Bihar elections take place between October 20 and November 20. The CWG will end on October 14.
The ministry has also said it would like to see the elections in 3-4 phases to ensure better deployment of central forces in the state. The Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, and Election Commissioner V S Sampath had detailed discussions with home secretary G K Pillai on the number of paramilitary battalions required for conducting free and fair polls in the state.
In the 2005 assembly elections in Bihar, polling was conducted in four phases over one month. The term of the present assembly in Bihar ends on November 27. “Most political parties want the elections to be over before Diwali — on November 5.
“We think that polling could take place after October 20 but campaigning by political parties can continue during the Commonwealth Games. The constraint in providing adequate paramilitary forces for polling is the main issue. We believe most of the security personnel would be pressed into service for the Games,” said a government official.
Sources in the government also said the availability of paramilitary personnel was a concern not only because of the Games, but the security men will be needed in different parts of the country during Diwali and Chath Puja that have massive following in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.