Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday criticised some Opposition leaders for stirring up a controversy over conducting elections during the month of Ramzan.
“Dozens of elections happen during festivals,” Prasad said, adding that the bye-election for the Kairana parliamentary seat was also held during Ramzan last year, on May 28. He claimed that there were many “sponsored comments” that elections will be affected and mentioned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “Don’t be so desperate,” he added, according to NDTV. “Even Holi is coming during election campaign programme period.”
The Election Commission said that elections cannot be held off for an entire month and so it had excluded Fridays and dates of main festivals from its schedule, PTI reported.
On Sunday, a Trinamool Congress leader from West Bengal claimed that the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal will inconvenience people during Ramzan and the summer months. A Samajwadi Party leader also said that fewer Muslims may be interested in voting during the month of Ramzan. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday rejected these concerns and said the controversy is wrong and uncalled for.
The Election Commission on Sunday announced the dates for the 2019 General Elections. The polls will be held in seven phases, starting April 11 and ending May 19. The results will be declared on May 23. Assembly elections for Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will also be held simultaneously.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said people who want to divide India on communal lines were creating this controversy, and added that Navratas, when Hindus fast, will also be during election time. “Muslims do not observe roza by not doing their work,” Hussain said, according to PTI. “Islam also does not ask us to stop our work for worship. It is not that people who have jobs do not attend them during Ramzan. They keep roza and do their work as well. Creating such a controversy is unfortunate.”