Governor, CM spar over poll largesse

From poll time doles to deployment of criminals, UP's ruling party is leaving no stone unturned, writes M Hasan.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 15:43 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan

From poll time doles to deployment of criminals to win the prestigious local bodies election, the ruling Samajwadi Party has been leaving no stone unturned to wrest the initiative from the opposition.

Already a row has erupted between the Governor TV Rajeswar and the Mulayam Singh Yadav government over the distribution of unemployment allowance and Kanya Vidya Dhan during the civic election.

While the governor had express apprehension about unfair elections, Yadav has expressed his displeasure over the insensitivity of the Raj Bhawan in scuttling largesse to the people.

However, this time, instead of directly confronting the government, the pro-active governor has been pressuring the state election commission (SEC) to wield its cudgel to conduct free and fair elections.

The election commissioner, AP Singh, while asserting that the commission was an autonomous body, has made it clear that he was not bound by the Raj Bhawan advice.

The chief minister has already distributed dole in Faizabad, Moradabad and Basti. The SEC, however, under pressure of the governor, refused permission for money distribution in Allahabad on October 27.

Information available from the smaller urban centres indicated that the police had been openly supporting the ruling party candidates. In some places in central UP the cops have fielded their relatives and had been campaigning for them.

The SEC is flooded with complaints against policemen trying to influence the outcome of the elections. In Kanpur BJP turncoat Neeraj Chaturvedi, now contesting on SP ticket, has handed over the poll coordination work to a dreaded criminal Fahim.

He has also been given responsibility to manage the Muslim community, which has turned hostile against the SP for nomination of Chaturvedi, whose role in frequent communal troubles is well-known.

There are also reports from various places about the direct intervention of criminals in electioneering.

While the governor had advised the SEC to seek deployment of central para-military forces during polling, the centre has rejected the demand. Even though the governor appears to be determined to scuttle the gameplan of the state government in the civic election, the SEC, inexplicably is in no mood to cross laxman rekha.

The election has also provided an opportunity to the SP to test the continued support of minority community and its success in garnering support of trading community. Poor civic facilities have certainly made the task difficult for the SP.

While the SP has been trying to cash in on the three-year performance of the Yadav government, the opposition has largely targeted the SP on the law and order situation.

First Published: Oct 23, 2006 15:06 IST