Rahul Gandhi announces a basic income scheme called the Nyuntam Aay Yojana, to give a dole of Rs 6000 per month to families earning less than Rs 12000 per month, if the UPA is voted to power. Says it will benefit 5 crore families

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  • Goyal's departure from Jet raises the possibility of the airlines' revival with banks now expected to release funds for the cash-strapped entity
  • Time to pass on the baton, says Naresh Goyal as he quits Jet Airways
  • Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita quit Jet Airways board
  • Amit Shah to contest from Gandhinagar, the seat held by veteran L K Advani whose name does not figure in first list
  • PM Modi to contest from Varanasi again
  • BJP comes out with its first list of 184 candidates across 20 states
  • Nirav Modi termed as "flight risk',denied bail by UK court
  • Aseemanand and three others acquitted in Samjhauta Express blast case
  • BJP wins floor test in Goa. 20 MLAs vote for the Pramod Sawant government while 15 vote against it
  • Mukesh and Nita Ambani help Anil to clear Ericsson dues. Anil thanks them publicly.
  • Anil Ambani escapes jail by clearing his dues to Ericsson within the time set by the Supreme Court
  • BJP's Pramod Sawant to be next chief minister of Goa. The party brings allies MGP and GFP in line by offering them posts of deputies to the CM
  • Despite overnight meeting, BJP yet to come up with a replacement for the departed Manohar Parrikar as Goa CM
  • Mid-air collision of two international flights luckily averted over Mumbai skies
firhad-owaisi-javed
Firhad Hakim, Ramzan And Elections: Courting Needless Controversy

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Trying to prove secular credentials by raking up unnecessary issues connected with the Muslim community can sometimes back fire big time. Minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet and mayor of Kolkata Firhad Hakim discovered this to his discomfiture when he questioned the wisdom of the Election Commission in holding the elections during the month of Ramzan. He said that it will put Muslims to agony. He charged the BJP of not wanting the Muslims to vote in large numbers by scheduling the elections during the Holy month.

Several Muslim political and community leaders said Hakim was trying to create a controversy where none existed. They questioned his charge that Muslims will find it difficult to vote while keeping a fast. Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was scathing in rebutting Hakim’s charge. He said that “it is an insult to Muslims to say that Ramzan will affect our voting. Ramzan increases spiritualism in Muslims and, if anything, elections during this month will only lead to more voting percentage. Wherever elections are held during Ramzan, Muslims vote in higher percentage.” Owaisi was also right in pointing out that fasting during Ramzan did not mean Muslims did nothing but fast and rest. He said they did their normal work along with fasting and hence it will not affect them to go out and vote.

Lyricist and community elder statesman Javed Akhtar was even more scathing. He tweeted that “I find this whole discussion about Ramzan and elections totally disgusting. This is the kind of distorted and convoluted version of secularism that to me is repulsive, revolting and intolerable. EC shouldn’t consider it for a second.” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said that “elections during festivals are common. It seems politicians have more problem than those who observe Ramzan. BJP’s All India Minority Morcha secretary Arshad Alam added that “it’s not written anywhere in Islam that one has to take rest in air-conditioned rooms while fasting during Ramzan.”

Firhad Hakim has blatantly tried to politicize the issue in order to curry favour with the minority vote bank of his party. India is a huge country with thousands of communities. There is always some kind of festivity running in some part of the country. If one expects the Election Commission to factor in religious festivals in addition to exam schedules, excessive heat, excessive cold, monsoons and hundreds of other factors, elections will never be held in India. This must be a sobering lesson for the Trinamool Congress and it must desist from creating needless controversies.

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