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West Bengal: Election Commission announces by-poll on Eid, opposition slams poll panel for ‘bias against Muslims’

These deferred elections are being held because polling to these two seats was postponed following the death of two of the candidates

In West Bengal, the Election Commission announced by-polls to two seats on May 13, 2021, which incidentally is the same day when the Muslim festival Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated across the country. The EC’s decision has left opposition parties including Congress, TMC and the Left extremely miffed who are now doubting EC’s ‘intent’. They have come out to openly slam the poll panel for its decision, accusing it of being biased against Muslim voters, reports Times Now.

These deferred elections are being held because polling to these two seats was postponed following the death of two of the candidates. Incidentally, the Muslim festival Eid ul Fitr is falling on the same day the EC has chosen for the by-polls in the 2 substantially Muslim dominated districts, Samsergang and Jangipur.

Reportedly, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has written to the poll panel accusing it of forgetting the occasion and being biased against Muslim voters. Besides, the Left, Congress and many Muslim bodies like Bengal Imams Association have also raised their concerns about this matter.

Meanwhile, BJP has hit back saying that holding polls on festivals is not something unusual. The EC has past precedence of holding elections during Hindu festivals like Bihu and Chithirai where nobody took an objection to it, said BJP.

Commenting on oppostion’s hue and cry over EC’s decision, BJP Kolkata Spokesperson Sourav Sikdar said that election is the biggest festival of democracy and the date clash with Eid shouldn’t be made an issue.

To which Congress Leader, Kamru Z Choudhary stated that there’s no opposition to the election date. However, it would have been better if the EC had been more sensitive to the sentiments of a community.

TMC, Cong, Left parties along with other Muslim bodies have appealed to Election Commission to review this decision to hold by-polls on Eid day.

Re-polling in Assam conducted by Election Commission on the last day of Bohag Bihu festival

While opposition parties cry foul it becomes imperative to know that the re-polling in four polling stations under three Assembly constituencies in Assam took place today. The Election Commission had ordered re-polling in these polling stations following irregularities on April 1, the polling day. Incidentally, today is the last day of celebrations of the Rongali or Bohag Bihu festival which commenced on April 14, 2021, in Assam. Bihu is the most important festival of the state.

2019 Tamil Nadu poll date had clashed with the annual Chithirai festival in Madurai

Similarly, in 2019, the annual Chithirai festival in Madurai which had begun on April 7 and ended on April 19 that year, had coincided with the date of polling in Tamil Nadu. The polls were conducted nevertheless. The Election Commission of India had ruled out the possibility of postponing the date of polling in Madurai due to the Chithirai festival. However, owing to the date clash, EC had granted Madurai voters two extra hours to exercise their franchise.

Election Commission declares by-polls to 2 seats in WB after Congress and RSP candidate die of Covid

The Election Commission has declared May 13 as the date of by-poll to Samsergang and Jangipur after Congress’ Samsergang candidate Rezaul Haque and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s (RSP) Jangipur candidate Pradip Kumar Nandi had died due to Covid-19.

The poll panel picked April 29 for Congress’ and RSP’s new candidates to file their nominations. Eventually, it announced that the by-polls to these two seats would be conducted on May 13.

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