Muslim bodies demand change in panchayat poll time in WB

Muslim organisations urged West Bengal CM and State Election Commissioner to advance the election time of panchayat polls by at least an hour.

Kolkata: Muslim organisations on Thursday urged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey to advance the election time of panchayat polls by at least an hour in view of Ramzan.

They also demanded that the state government and SEC take up the issue with the Supreme Court and change the polling date of July 19, a Friday, to either a day before or a day after as some religious formalities and special prayers were to be conducted on Friday.

A memorandum to this effect was submitted to Banerjee and Pandey by a delegation of 15 Muslim organisations led by Moulana Md Toha Siddiqui of Furfura Sharif.

"We are shocked that our appeal has been rejected by the Supreme Court. But we have great respect for the apex court and entire judiciary. We love our country and that is why we shall participate in the polling process despite inconveniences, but we need some measures for our benefit," Siddiqui said.

The other demands were to excluding minority polling personnel who would be fasting during Ramzan and additional polling booths in minority areas to reduce the time spent in queues to cast votes.

Arrangement for Iftar for minority polling personnel should also be made by the authorities concerned during the polling days, he said.

All Bengal Minority Youth Federation General Secretary Md Kamruzzaman expressed hope that the state government and SEC would cooperate in fulfilling their demands.