Muslim clerics and political leaders have voiced their dismay over the clash of poll schedule with the holy month of Ramzan. However, a section of clerics has dismissed the objections as politics, saying that Jang-e-Badr was fought on the 17th day of Ramzan.
Imam of Aishbagh Eidgah in Lucknow, Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, urged the Election Commission to “respect” the sentiments of the Muslims and shift the poll dates of May 6, 12 and 19, as Ramzan was expected to start on May 6. He said that if the moon was sighted on May 5, the month of Ramzan would begin from May 6.
“Polling dates of May 6, 12 and 19 will hence fall during the fasting period and will subject Muslims to ‘extraordinary’ hardships,” the Maulana Farangi Mahali commented.
The Maulana, who is also a member of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), suggested that the Election Commission either prepone the polling on these three dates or postpone them to a date after Eid after the culmination of Ramzan.
“We will make a formal representation to the Election Commission in this regard, both in writing and digital form,” Maulana Khalid Rashid said in Lucknow on Monday.
At a news conference in New Delhi on on Sunday, the Election Commission had announced the schedule of the seven-phase general elections, to be held from April 11 to May 19 with counting of votes on May 23.
Meanwhile, AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani said that he did not remember any Lok Sabha election being held during Ramzan, though Assembly elections have been held during the holy month of fasting.
“The Election Commission may or may not have considered Ramzan while deciding the dates. There are Supreme Court judgements that once the election process starts, the court cannot interfere in the process,” said Jilani, who is also convenor of Babri Masjid Action Committee.
All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board president Shaista Amber also voiced her reservation over the poll schedule. She said that never in the democratic history of India were general elections held during Ramzan.
Jamait-Ul Hind (Arshad Madni group) general secretary, Maulana Abdul Aleem Farooqui, said the Indian Meteorological department had made forecast that this summer would be warmest due to climate change.
“If the Election Commission could adjust election dates, it would help Muslim voters to exercise their franchise in Ramzan,” he said.
“If the Election Commission looks at its decision and adjusts the dates so that they don’t clash with Ramzan, it will be better,” he said.
The Election Commission usually takes into account all factors while finalising the dates of elections so that people do not face inconvenience. But it is quite possible that while deciding the poll dates, the ECI might have overlooked Ramzan.