New Delhi, Mar 11: The BJP on Monday lambasted the opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress and AAP for dragging Ramzan row into poll schedule and said even in the past during holy month of Ramzan, polls were held.
BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference here that Kairana bypolls last year in UP were held during Ramzan and BJP had lost that poll too."Over a dozen times elections have been held during Ramzan holy month," Mr Prasad said.
He said even during the ensuing elections, there is Holi festival of the Hindus and also Chaitra Navratra. ".....But questions are being raised only about Ramzan," he said in reference to some remarks from opposition leaders criticising the poll schedule."Raising such issues only reflect utter frustration on the part of opposition leaders" he said.
Some opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and AAP, have flayed the Election Commission for not considering Ramzan month - a period of day long fast among Muslims - before announcing the poll schedule.
However, the stance of the opposition parties have come under attack by Shiv Sena and also All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
"Elections are important for the country. They are important and should get precedence before any religious celebration," Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut told reporters.
Speaking to TV news channels, Hyderabad MP Mr Owaisi said :“The whole controversy is uncalled for and unnecessary. I would earnestly request those political parties that please do not use the Muslim community and Ramzan for whatever reasons you have".
Earlier West Bengal Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim expressed his displeasure over the EC’s decision to hold Lok Sabha 2019 elections in West Bengal, UP and Bihar in seven phases.
“Minority population in these three states is quite high. They will cast votes by observing Roza. EC should have kept this in mind.”
AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan also said in Delhi that the EC decision to put poll dates on May 6, 12 and 19 - coinciding with Ramzan month would only help the BJP.
"The Muslim voters turnout will be less...It may even drop to about 50 per cent and especially among women," he said adding the BJP will benefit from lesser Muslim votes.
West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra also said the poll panel should consider the matter.
“We have a large number of Muslim voters and the EC should consider the poll dates as it coincides with the Ramzan observance,” Mr Mitra said.UNI