The Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami on Friday said that effective steps were being taken to counter “Dadua menace” in Chitrakoot and Pratapgarh during polling on April 28. The CEC said he had already received observers’ reports and instructions were being issued to the officers in two districts.
The three-member commission consisting of Gopalaswami, Navin B Chawla and Dr SY Qureshi was in Lucknow on Friday to review the election preparations for the fifth phase of elections in 58 constituencies in nine districts.
While dreaded dacoit Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua has been creating problems in Chitrakoot, his gun-totting men have landed in Patti (Pratapgarh) to campaign for his brother Bal Kumar Patel who is SP candidate.
Gopalaswami said “I have come to know that some people have come” and Pratapgarh administration had been directed to take strict measures for free and fair polling. The CEC did not rule the possibility of action against the officers in case of slackness in dealing with these outlaws. He said both districts were on EC radar.
Referring to the controversial BJP CD, the CEC said “the decision would be taken soon”. About the CD of the chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said it was under consideration. About the Yadav’s accusation that tight security measures had become stumbling block in good turn out of voters in three phases, Gopalaswami said there had been both “increases and decreases” in voters’ turn out. There was no downward trend in overall percentage of voting. He said further instructions had been issued for quickly updating the voters’ lists.
Gopalaswami said the commission had already received report about the disappearance of names of UPCC president Salman Khurshid and his wife Louis Khurshid in Qaimganj. He said further investigation would be conducted before taking action. Even though the CEC expressed satisfaction with the performance of the officers, he did not rule out possibility of further changes in the remaining phases.
The commission today reviewed the preparation in Lucknow, Unnao, Hardoi, Rae Bareli, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Banda, Chitrakoot and Fatehpur. He said officers had been directed to ignore small mistakes in photo identity cards while allowing the electorate to cast votes.