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Missing names, faulty EVMs mar polling in second phase of UP civic elections

The three-phase municipal elections for 652 urban local bodies in Uttar Pradesh are being held eight months after the BJP won the assembly elections.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2017 22:10 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh civic polls,EVM,Voters' list
Burqa-clad voters after casting their votes for municipal elections in Varanasi on Sunday. (PTI)

Missing names of voters and faulty voting machines in Lucknow and some other districts blighted the second round of polling on Sunday for the high-stakes elections for urban local bodies in Uttar Pradesh that saw a turnout of 48.65%.

State election commissioner SK Agarwal said barring a few incidents of violence, polling was peaceful. The statewide poll percentage increased from 43.67% in 2012 to 48.65% this year, he said.

The second phase includes 25 districts, covering 1.29 crore voters in all. The third and final phase of the elections will take place on November 29.

There were reports of violence and protests from Shahjhanpur, Mainpuri, Aligarh and some other districts.

“I have sought a report from Mainpuri district administration over the incident of firing. Strict action will be taken against the district administration officers if they fail to arrest the culprits. The District Magistrate told me that probe has been ordered if anti-social elements fired to scare the voters or someone burst crackers,” Agarwal said.

One person was arrested in Varanasi and another in Bhadohi for presenting fake Adhar cards, he said.

Former Union minister Kalraj Mishra and the former Lucknow mayor Dauji Gupta were among the hundreds of people who could not vote since their names were missing from the list in polling stations in Lucknow.

In Varanasi, the name of Virbhadra Nishad, the proponent of PM Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections, was missing from the voters list.

Mishra went with his family to cast vote at Ganna Sansthan. After searching for a while, the polling staff could not find his name. Mishra voted at this station in the Vidhan Sabha elections on February 19 this year.

Read more: One lady cop always posted at each polling booth during ongoing civic elections: SEC

Similarly, former Lucknow mayor Duji Gupta’s name was not found. Three times mayor of Lucknow and former MLC, Gupta said, “I have been regularly voting since 1962 in all the elections held so far in Lucknow. But my name is not there in the voters’ list. Thus I have been deprived of my fundamental right to cast my vote along with my joint family of 20 people whose names are also not there while all of us have our voter ID and Aadhaar cards.”

At Mall Avenue, Dilkusha Colony and Gomti Nagar too, several people shared similar stories, saying they had voted in February but their names were now missing from the list.

Some of the voters whose names were missing were incensed.

“If we do not exist (in the voter list), why should we pay municipal taxes?” said one voter whose name did not figure in the list.

On the discrepancies in voters’ list, Agarwal said the SEC had deleted names of a large number of voters whose names also figured in voters’ lists of the rural local bodies’ election.

“Large number of voters having houses in villages as well as cities got themselves enrolled in both electoral rolls,” he said.

The deletion of names prompted Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav to take a swipe at the BJP government.

“Media reports that a lot of voters’ names are missing from the voting list of today’s election. This type of digital India cannot take us forward,” said former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief

Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet.

Earlier, reports from polling stations across Lucknow suggested that voting was halted after machines started malfunctioning. In the first phase as well, many voters complained of faulty voting machines.

Similar reports came in from at least seven other polling booths of Lucknow.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 22:10 IST