The Election Commission on Sunday announced the polling dates for Lok Sabha elections 2019 starting from April 11 to May 19, set to be held in seven phases. Few hours after the announcement, opposition parties and Muslim clerics have raised their objections over the polling dates falling in the month of Ramzaan, which is expected to start from May 5.

Meanwhile, many state leaders from across parties have raised their voice against election dates coinciding with Ramzaan. A top SP leader being promised anonymity said that in "the summer month of May when fasting is combined with the heat waves it may become difficult for the Muslim voters of UP, Bihar and West Bengal to stand in queues for long hours to cast their votes".

Sher Qazi Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali in Lucknow said "The Election Commission must have taken into consideration the fact that Ramzaan is a sacred month for Muslims, in which fasting is observed for a month with prayers. Heat waves along with fasting will make it difficult for Muslim voters to cast their votes in the scorching heat." Shia cleric Maulana Saif Abbas also showed his concern over the polling dates coinciding with Ramzaan. He said, "During the month of Ramzaan god gives devotees (Muslims) the strength to perform their everyday work along with fasting".   

Muslim clerics and opposition leaders were upset that there is a great possibility that the first day of fasting would be on May 6, the same day of the fifth phase of polling. 14 constituencies in UP will be going to polls including Lucknow, Mohanlalganj, Barabanki, Faizabad, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Sitapur, Dhararua, Gonda, Qaiserganj, Bahraich, Kaushmbi, Banda and Fatehpur. The sixth phase being held on May 12 for 14 seats and the final phase on May 19 for 13 seats also fall in the same month of Ramzaan.

Election Commission weighs all the options from logistics to schools to the availability of para-military forces before announcing the polling dates. However, in many states where there is scorching heat in May, there will be some inconvenience to Muslim voters. EC along with administration will have to come up with some mechanism to provide relief to the voters.