Opposition blames Mamata for polls during Ramadan

Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) The opposition Tuesday blamed the West Bengal government for the Supreme Court decision to hold panchayat elections in the state in five phases including during Ramadan.

Dismissing the plea that holding the polls during Ramadan could affect Muslim voters, the apex court said it could not reschedule the elections due to non-availability of security forces before July 11.

The Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) accused the Mamata Banerjee government of inconveniencing the Muslim population by holding the polls during Ramadan.

"While polling during Ramadan will inconvenience the minority community, the only one to be blamed for this is the state government," West Bengal Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said.

The state government had told the court that the polling dates coincided with Ramadan, which falls in the second week of July. But Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to modify the dates.

CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim accused the Trinamool regime of playing to the gallery.

"If it was really concerned about Muslims, then its lawyers would have raised the matter earlier before the court. But they failed to do that and made a hue and cry only before the public," said Salim.

State BJP president Rahul Sinha welcomed the court's order.

"While the BJP is accused of pursuing communal politics, the Trinamool and the Congress as well as the Left Front have proved that it's they who follow the politics of religion," said Sinha.

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