Fifth phase polling under shadow of dacoits, mafiosi | india | Hindustan Times
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Fifth phase polling under shadow of dacoits, mafiosi

With Mafiosi and dacoits throwing spanners in free and fair poll in the fifth phase of state assembly election, polling is likely to be under the shadow of outlaws on April 28, reports Masoodul Hasan.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2012 13:16 IST

With Mafiosi and dacoits throwing spanners in free and fair poll in the fifth phase of state assembly election, polling is likely to be under the shadow of outlaws on April 28. The election commission, in view of prevailing situation, has undertaken extraordinary security measures to counter criminals’ menace. The campaigning for fifth round ended on Thursday in 57 constituencies in nine assembly segments.

While titans clashed to save their fiefdoms in the previous rounds also, fifth phase portrays somewhat frightening scenes of diktats from gun-totting outlaws of Bundelkhand who are determined to enter the corridors of power through proxies from Chitrakoot, Banda and Pratapgarh. Not content with merely supporting candidates, the dacoits have fielded their own nominees. Obviously their stakes are high.

Talking to newsmen here on Thursday the chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi, who visited Chitrakoot, Banda and Pratapgarh said today that toughest security arrangements had been made for free and fair polling. He said the commission had taken care of all aspects to ensure peaceful polling.

He said 1.59 crore electorate would decide the fate of 864 candidates. The election in Khaga (Fatehpur) was cancelled today following the death of Congress candidate Munnalal Maurya in an accident. He said 650 companies of central para-military forces had been deployed along with PAC and civil police.

With Lucknow being the constituency of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee the BJP’s stakes are high here. The Congress has been making determined efforts in Rae-Bareli-Sultanpur region, known as fiefdom of Nehru-Gandhi family, to gain grounds. While the Congress could not perform well in last election in Rae Bareli and Sultanpur, there had been fall in victory margin of Vajpayee in Lok Sabha poll in 2004.

The districts going to polls are Hardoi, Unnao, Lucknow, Rae-Bareli, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Banda and Chitrakot. Of the total 58 seats, the BSP had won 19, BJP 16, SP 14, Congress 4, independents 4 and Lok Janshakti Party one in 2002 assembly election. Thus this phase is crucial for the three main contenders BSP, BJP and SP. Prominent contestants are BJP leader Lalji Tandon, ministers Naresh Agarwal, Dr Ashok Bajpai, Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhayya, RK Chaudhury, BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya, Congress leaders Pramod Tiwari and Amita Singh, Akhilesh Kumar Singh.

Since Bundelkhand is the pocket borough of dacoits Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua and Ambika Patel Thokia alias Doctor political parties are at their mercy. The two dacoits have issued “firman” (diktats) to villagers to vote for their nominees or face bullets after the polls.

While Samajwadi Party has fielded Dadua’s brother Bal Kumar Patel from Patti (Pratapgarh) and RK Patel from Karvi (Chitrakoot) the Rashtriya Lok Dal has nominated Thokia’s mother Piyaria Devi Patel from Naraini (Banda).