Kolkata, March 11: After the Election Commission announced seven-phase polling for Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Firhad Hakim said dates for voting are clashing with Ramzan period (May 5-June 4, 2019). Firhad Hakim said the Election Commission (EC) doesn't want minorities to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls.
"People will face problems in exercising their voting rights as some poll dates are clashing with Ramzan. Since the Election Commission is a constitutional body, I don’t want to comment much into the matter. But they should have considered that people will suffer during Ramzan (in casting votes)," Hakim told news agency ANI. West Bengal has nearly 31 per cent Muslim voters. Assembly Bypolls in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Goa & Other States to be Held Simultaneously With Lok Sabha Elections.
"EC has announced the poll dates on Ramzan so that minorities are unable to cast their votes. But we aren't worried. People are committed to BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao," Hakim was quoted as saying. West Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra also said the poll panel should consider the matter. Check Full Schedule of Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
"We have a large number of Muslim voters and the EC should consider the poll dates as per the Ramzan observance," Mitra said. Arshad Alam, BJP’s all-India secretary of minority morcha, said Ramzan is dragged unnecessarily. "A true Muslim will keep ‘roza’ during Ramzan and will also perform his/her normal duties towards society and family. I don’t understand why political leaders every time drag Ramzan during elections," he said.
In West Bengal, two parliamentary constituencies - Cooch Behar and Alipurduars - will go to the hustings in the first phase on April 11. The second phase will see polling in three constituencies, including the hotbed of Gorkhaland movement Darjeeling, in the north Bengal hills. North Bengal's Jalpaiguri and Raiganj will also go to polls on the same date.
Five constituencies - Balurghat, Malda North and Malda South in north Bengal plains and Jangipur and Murshidabad in Murshidabad district - will vote in the third phase on April 23. The fourth phase of polling on April 29, will feature eight constituencies - Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, Bardhaman East, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur and Birbhum.
In the fifth phase, voters of seven constituencies in and around Gangetic West Bengal - Bangaon, Barrackpur, Howrah, Uluberia, Srerampur, Hooghly, Arambag - will exercise their democratic choice on May 6. Eight more constituencies - Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur - will witness polling in the sixth round on May 12.
The remaining nine constituencies-- Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Joynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata South and Kolkata North - situated within North and South 24 Parganas and Kolkata, will be up for grabs in the last phase on May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23.