Uttarakhand: Several injured in clash during Assembly by-polls

Shots fired near polling booth in Muslim-majority Manglaur Assembly segment, says Congress, police denies charges

Representative image
Representative image

NH Political Bureau

Several individuals sustained injuries during a violent clash in Uttarakhand’s Manglaur Assembly constituency on Wednesday, the Uttarakhand unit of the Congress has claimed.

Congress candidate Qazi Nizamuddin claimed that miscreants fired shots near a polling booth, though the police are yet to confirm these reports. The confrontation reportedly occurred at the Libberheri booth as voting was underway.

In an X post, Uttarakhand Congress chief Karan Mahara voiced concerns about “external anti-social elements” attempting to sway the election results in favour of the BJP, and accused the administration of ignoring prior warnings about such threats.

Mahara also criticised chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, stating, “The firing incident in Libberheri village demonstrates the BJP’s undemocratic tactics and highlights the administration’s failure under Dhami’s rule.”

He labelled BJP candidate Kartar Singh Bhadana as an "outsider" and condemned the BJP government’s handling of the situation. Bhadana, a former Bahujan Samaj Party leader, only joined the BJP in 2022.

Mahara further alleged that Constitutional institutions are acting with bias, adding, “Fearing the defeat of their candidate, Kartar Singh Bhadana, brought in from outside the state, the BJP is resorting to every possible tactic to influence the election. I trust that the people of Uttarakhand will vote wisely and impartially, ensuring a victory for truth and the Congress.”

At the time of filing this report, voting was still ongoing in both the Manglaur and Badrinath Assembly segments.

In Badrinath, Rajendra Bhandari, a former Congress MLA now with the BJP, is up against Congress candidate Lakhpat Butola. In the Muslim-majority Manglaur segment, the Congress has fielded senior leader Qazi Nizamuddin, while the BJP, which has never won this seat, has fielded Kartar Singh Bhadana.

By-elections were held in 13 Assembly segments across seven states today. Notably, this is the first election since the 2024 Lok Sabha elections held from April-June, and will determine the political fate of several notable figures and newcomers, including Kamlesh Thakur, wife of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

The Assembly seats up for voting today are: Raiganj, Ranaghat Dakshin, Bagda, and Maniktala (West Bengal); Badrinath and Manglaur (Uttarakhand); Jalandhar West (Punjab); Dehra, Hamirpur, and Nalagarh (Himachal Pradesh); Rupauli (Bihar); Vikravandi (Tamil Nadu); and Amarwara (Madhya Pradesh).

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