Muslim groups, parties demand change in Jharkhand poll date


Ranchi : Various Muslim organisations and political parties have threatened to boycott the first phase of Jharkhand’s assembly elections on Nov 27, the Friday before Bakr-Eid.

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A letter, requesting a change of dates, has been sent to the Election Commission Monday. The first phase of elections on Nov 27 falls on Friday, a day before Eid on Nov 28, when mass prayers are offered.

The Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have backed the Muslim groups in their demand. Besides, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also unhappy with Nov 27 because auspicious marriage dates begin from that day and thousands of weddings have already been scheduled.

On Sunday, 28 Muslim organisations held a meeting here and decided to request the Election Commission and also apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the problems they will face on Nov 27.

If the dates are not changed, they said they would boycott the first phase.

The five-round elections begin Nov 27 and end Dec 18, also a Friday.

“The Election Commission should have considered Jumma (Friday) prayers, which the Muslim community offers. Two dates, Nov 27 and Dec 18, fall on Friday. Both dates should be changed,” said Haji Hussain Ansari, chairperson of the Jharkhand Haj Committee.

Shamsher Aalam, president of the Jharkhand Tanjim, added: “We have faxed a letter to the Election Commission requesting it to change the dates. If the Election Commission will will not consider our request, we may boycott the elections. Muslims will be busy for two hours offering prayers on Friday.”

Counting for the elections will be on Dec 23.