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Of iftar bonhomie and vote politics

Ranchi, July 25: Evenings in the state capital have been quite eventful this holy month of Ramazan with several high-profile hosts extending dawat-e-iftar to socialise and bond with people from different communities.

Though there is nothing new or unusual about it, the list of political biggies organising iftar that marks the customary breaking of the fast in the evening seems to have got longer this year in the wake of the approaching Assembly polls.

Former Union minister and Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay, state finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and Assembly Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta have already played hosts.

State Congress boss Sukhdeo Bhagat organised iftar at the party headquarters on Shraddhanand Road yesterday, while governor Syed Ahmed invited all to Raj Bhavan today.

On the other hand, JMM supremo Shibu Soren and his chief minister son Hemant Soren, among other leaders, have been distinguished guests at many such special parties.

“Evening parties are normal during Ramazan. But in this election year, political leaders are far too keen to host as well as attend iftar. These events provide a platform to chat and bond over meals,” said a senior politician.

Nevertheless, Congress minister Rajendra Prasad Singh dismissed suggestions that he had organised iftar to reap any political gain. “There is no political reason behind hosting iftar. It is just an attempt to spread the message of harmony among different communities,” he added.

Speaker Bhokta supported Singh and said iftar had been a tradition and people from all communities enjoyed it.

A close aide of senior Congress leader Sahay said they organised iftar every year. “So, we organised one on July 20. Nothing should be read between the lines,” he added.

Though JMM chief Soren and his son Hemant have attended a few over the weeks, insiders claimed no party senior was planning to host any iftar.

JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said they had not planned any iftar so far, but might host an Id milan samaroh. “In my opinion, iftar is a sacred thing. Unfortunately, photographs of politicians are getting published in newspapers every other day instead of rozedars (who observe fast during Ramazan). We will organise an Id feast,” he said.