Byelections in Uttar Pradesh: Samajwadi Party questions role of EC, Police and the administration

While polling is going on for filling up the Lok Sabha seat for Mainpuri and Assembly seats of Rampur and Khatauli, Samajwadi Party accused the Election Commission of being indifferent to malpractices

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NH Political Bureau

Police were turning away a section of voters, mostly Muslims, from exercising their franchise on Monday, alleged Samajwadi Party leaders on social media. The party also posted videos to allege that some policemen were working as ‘agents’ of the BJP.

Even more seriously, the party alleged that some two thousand security personnel with ‘Yadav’ as their surname were held back as ‘reserve’. The administration, they said, should be aware that not just Yadavs vote for the SP.

Alleging that polling agents of the party were removed by force at several booths by BJP workers, electors were being prevented from voting to decrease the polling percentage and EVMs were malfunctioning in several areas, SP leaders accused the Election Commission of ignoring complaints and being indifferent to the violations. The party had earlier alleged that names of voters were being deleted from electoral rolls even before the polling, prompting the Election Commission to serve notice seeking details. While the party claims to have replied to the notice, it has not yet revealed the explanation it offered the EC.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the police as well as the administration were preventing people from casting votes in Mainpuri parliamentary and Rampur Assembly constituency in the by-polls in Uttar Pradesh.

The party alleged that in a polling booth in the Balpura village in Karhal, the BJP agents were preventing the Muslim voters from exercising their rights. As the voting continued, the Samajwadi Party in a tweet alleged mismanagement and partiality by the police deployed on poll duty for the Khatauli bypoll and also sought suspension of officer Rakesh Kumar Singh for working as a 'BJP agent' and 'stopping the Muslim voters from casting their vote'. In Bhogaon, which is under the Mainpuri parliamentary constituency, the party alleged that police were attempting to arrest booth agents in several booths at the behest of the BJP. In a voting booth in Karhal the central security forces were harassing the public in the name of ID checks to reduce the polling percentage, the SP alleged.

The series of allegations comes after RLD candidate Madan Bhaiya in Khatauli also accused the state administration of being partial towards the BJP. Besides, the Samajwadi Party workers have also alleged that the BJP workers broke their election counter near a polling station in Rampur.

Meanwhile, a five-member delegation of the BJP reached the Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission office accusing the SP of influencing the elections.

Further, the SP alleged that in Jaswantnagar in Etawah district, polling was delayed in a booth because of faulty EVMs.

Voting began on Monday for the Rampur and Khatauli Assembly constituencies and the Mainpuri parliamentary seat in UP.

Akhilesh also accused the Election Commission of turning a blind eye to complaints. "They are doing whatever directives they get from the government," Yadav alleged.

"BJP has been given full freedom. They are distributing liquor and adopting other tactics against the SP," he added. He also added that District Magistrate Mainpuri is not responding to the calls.

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Before the start of the Winter Session, SP legislators held a Dharna on the UP assembly premises. Their grievances included the misuse of official machinery during bypolls, price rise and poor law and order in the state.

The SP MLAs sat near the Chowdhury Charan Singh statue with placards that read, "Janta ka paisa ghate hain, ghaplebaaj sarkaar chalate hain" (They swindle people's money, scamsters run the government) and "BJP vifal hai apne kaamo se, janta trast hai badhte daamo se" (The BJP has failed in its works and people are fed up with inflation).

SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chowhdury said, "Our legislators sat on a dharna to point out misuse of official machinery by the BJP in bypolls. They were preventing people from casting votes."

Similar allegations came from Rampur where SP's Asim Raja accused UP police of over-stepping their bounds and not allowing for free and fair elections. He also requested the presence of the army and paramilitary forces in order to oversee the elections.

The by-election to the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat is taking place due to the death of Samajwadi Party (SP) founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.

(With agency inputs)

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