Update at 3:20 PM: Election Commission: During Ramadan, polls are conducted as a full month cannot be excluded. However, the date of the main festival and Fridays are avoided for poll days.
In a breaking development, the Election Commission has slammed the Opposition for questioning the dates of 2019 polls, while raising Ramzan matter. Highly placed sources have told Republic TV that the commission condemns such statements which can hurt the religious sentiments of the people.
Trinamool Congress leader and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim on Sunday said the lengthy schedule of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, will be arduous for those observing Ramzan in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Ramzan, observed by Muslims as a month of fasting, will likely coincide with the seven-phase election schedule.
Furthermore, lambasting at the BJP on the matter, Kolkata Mayor said, "BJP doesn't want minorities to cast their votes."
Opposing the statements made in the matter, the sources at the Election Commission said that the dates of the polls have been fixed keeping in mind the religious sentiments of the people - which cannot create a hindrance in the conduct of elections.
"ECI is an autonomous body. Such statements are condemnable. Religious sentiments were kept in mind but cannot be a hindrance to conducting of elections. Feedback from political parties and also administration was taken clearly. During Ramzan, people don't give up on their work, they don't stop going to offices. So, casting vote shouldn't be a problem. Three times elections in Anantnag have been countermanded. This can't go on. Election is a priority right now," said the sources at EC.
The Election Commission on Sunday announced the dates of General Elections 2019. While the 543 seats of 29 states and 7 Union Territories will go into polls in seven phases beginning from April 11 till May 19. The counting of votes for all the states is scheduled to take place on May 23.
With the numbers of the electoral process of 2019 including the voters (900 million), number of polling booths etc. announced by the Election Commission, it is undoubtedly going to be the biggest elections in the world history.
(With agency inputs)