THE MAFIOSI have begun to flex their muscles and the State Election Commission (SEC) is losing its sleep over it.
With the first phase of the election just a fortnight away, the SEC and the district returning officers are flooded with complaints about terror tactics being adopted by criminal gangs. Determined to ensure peaceful and free polls, the SEC has declared 15 districts as sensitive and is likely to add more to the list.
Fearing large-scale violence, the SEC has already urged the State Government to deploy central paramilitary forces (CPMF) in these districts.
After the poll bugle was sounded, the mafia operating across the State began to pull the strings to ensure victory of their candidates. Though lodged in the Rae Bareli jail, historysheeter and Independent MLA Akhilesh Singh is issuing threats to candidates of rival political parties. On learning that Singh was organising meetings in the jail premises, the SEC has directed the DIG, Prison to conduct an investigation and submit a report immediately.
Supporters of Allahabad strongman Ateeq Ahmed are threatening rival candidates in the ‘fiefdom’ of their boss. In Pratapgarh district the writ of Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhiayya runs large. Candidates of rival political parties are running for cover as Raja’s men are using all tricks to secure victory in the election.
In Jaunpur, gangs of Abhay Singh and Dhananjay Singh are calling the shots and candidates are seeking their blessings to secure victory. In Varanasi, it’s the Brajesh Singh gang while in neighbouring Ghazipur district Mukhtar Ansari holds the key to victory.
To clear the poll hurdle in Azamgarh the blessings of Yadav brothers Umakant and Ramakant is necessary. In Gorakhpur the support of Amarmani Tripathi and Markandey Chand gang will decide the fate of several candidates.
In Gonda and Balrampur districts, candidates of all political parties are trying to ensure the support of strongmen like Brajbhusan Saran Singh and Rizwan Zaheer. The Babloo Srivasatava gang has spread its network in Lucknow and neighbouring districts to ensure the victory of the candidates supported by the gang.
The activities of DP Yadav in the Meerut region have perturbed the SEC. The gangs of Sanjeev Maheswari (Muzaffarnagar), Prakash Pandey (Barielly) and Madan Bhaiyya (Ghazibad and Saharanpur) are keeping poll officers on tenterhooks. In Mainpuri, the Thokia gang has announced its support to few candidates.
But the cause of major worry for cops and the SEC is the news of some candidates hiring the services of criminal gangs to ensure their victory. A senior police officer said mafia dons wanted to make inroads into the urban territory by ensuring the victory of their candidates. They have set their eyes on the large development fund pumped into the local bodies by the State Government.
A senior police officer told HT that the State Government had urged the Centre to send 25 companies of CPMF for poll duty. “We will deploy 103 companies of PAC and 85,000 homeguards to assist local cops in organising peaceful election and control activities of criminal gangs,” he said.
The DIG Range has been appointed the nodal officer and would ensure deployment of police force in the districts, he said.