Amid several opposition parties questioning the Election Commission’s decision to hold Lok Sabha polls during Ramzan, the poll panel on Monday clarified that the festival of Eid and Fridays (falling in the holy month) have been excluded from the polling dates.
“During Ramadan, polls are conducted as full month cannot be excluded. However, date of main festival and Fridays are avoided for poll days,” ANI quoted the Election Commission as saying.
Earlier in the day, the Trinamool Congress alleged that the polling schedule was designed in a way that most of the constituencies go to polls during the Ramadan so that Muslims cannot go out and exercise their franchise. The Ramadan begins on May 5 and will end on June 4.
The Trinamool Congress banks heavily on the Muslim votes and the Mamata Banerjee government has already announced many measures to appease the Muslims.
AAP leader Amanatullah Khan had tweeted Sunday that elections will be held in Delhi on May 12, when Muslims will be observing Ramzan.
"There will be less polling among Muslims, and it will directly benefit the BJP," he had said.
However, critising the political parties questioning the poll panel's schedule, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that elections during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would have no impact on the voter turnout.
"When Muslims fast they also go to offices and do their business. There are also labourers, rickshaw drivers and rickshaw pullers who fast. Their normal activity does not get affected," he said.
The BJP also accused the opposition of deliberately triggering a row, saying that it is a "communal" ploy to divide the country ahead of the elections.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain pointed out that Navratas, when many Hindus observe fast, will also fall during the elections.
"Muslims do not observe roza by not doing their work. 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," he said.
Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases. The counting of votes will be held on May 23, the Election Commission announced Sunday, kick-starting a mega electoral battle.