My Republica, Binod Subedi, 18th May 2017, Biratnagar
The second phase of local elections is likely to be less exciting for the Muslim community who will be busy celebrating their greatest festival Ramjan during that time.
The Muslim community will be having a month-long fast from may 27 for Ramjan. So, the local elections which were announced after a gap of 19 years won't be as exciting for the Muslims of four provinces who will be taking part in the local elections on June 14. Though many Muslims have a keen desire to cat their votes and elect a representative for their local units, they are in a dilemma whether to take part in the elections or celebrate their greatest festival.
On Wednesday, the Morang Muslim Community organized a program which was attended by the district leaders of major political parties. In an interaction, many Muslims participants requested the political leaders to provide them an equal opportunity to take part in the elections. They insisted that the leaders convince the government to postpone the date of the second phase of local elections so that they could fully embrace the polls.
According to Firoj Khan, chairperson of the local Muslim community, all Muslims could vote in the local elections if the date was postponed or preponed. “It will be challenging for the Muslims to take part in the promotional campaigns during fasting,” Khan said, adding that they are not against the local elections but if their demands are not addressed they will go for voting wearing black bands in their arms.
Many of them accused the government of neglecting Muslims in the local elections. According to them, if all citizens are equal in the eye of the government, it must provide an equal opportunity to all to take part in the elections. Though the political leaders have assured to inform the responsible authority about their issues, they are doubtful whether their demands will be met.
Binod Dhakal, chairperson of CPN-UML, Morang, said the election was ill-timed as it coincided with Ramajan, the Muslim community's biggest festival. “The government must do something to solve the problem of Muslims who are eager to take part in the elections,” he said.