SEC puts off elections in 10 blocks
EVEN AFTER the direction of the State Election Commission (SEC) ministers remain adamant and refuse to leave their constituency before the block pramukh election scheduled on Monday.
Even the assurance of the chief minister to the SEC that his ministers will not interfere in the poll process failed to cut the ice. Majority of ministers are still camping in their constituencies to ensure the victory of their candidates.
In view of complaints that ministers are canvassing and using pressure tactics in support of their candidates the SEC on Sunday postponed polling in 10 blocks, namely Shahganj (Jaunpur), Sadar (Ghazipur), Nawabganj (Gonda), Sarwan Khera (Kanpur), Colonelganj (Gonda), Chatah (Rae Bareli), Sirpura (Etah), Tindwari (Banda), Gasandi (Balrampur), Harraiya (Basti), according to Additional Election Commissioner Vinay Priya Dubey.
Minister of State for Social Welfare Shailendra Yadav was found canvassing in Shahganj area, while Minister of State for Medical Education Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh was caught canvassing in Nawabganj area. Other ministers and chairmen of various corporations against whom complaints have been received in the SEC include Kailash Yadav, Yogesh Pratap Singh, Shiv Balak Pasi, Suraj Shakya, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, SP Yadav, Mahesh Trivedi and Raj Kishore Singh.
Dubey said if the ministers remained camping in their constituency and did not return to Lucknow then the SEC would be left with no other option but to cancel the polling. District magistrates had been directed to ensure that no minister was canvassing in their districts, he said.
Though the SEC has taken tough stand to implement the model code of conduct, but majority of ministers have made up their mind to defy the code. They are missing from the State capital. On Sunday, the Hindustan Times tried to contact over a dozen ministers but got the same reply from their staff: “Mantriji is out of station and will return on Monday”.
One minister who was camping in his constituency located in Mainpuri district said Vidhan Sabha election was virtually knocking on the door. “The Block Pramukhs are local heavyweights and play important role in getting votes during Vidhan Sabha polls. We will lose support in the constituency if we adhere to the SEC code,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SEC has postponed polling in Kotwali block of Bijnore district. Dubey said complaints regarding kidnapping of kshetra panchayat members was received in his office and the SEC decided to postpone the poll.
He said action would be taken against police officials and constables who are caught using pressure tactics in favour of any candidate. Ramesh Chandra Yadav, in-charge of Usrahar police station in Etawah district, has been attached to the SSP office after he was caught terrorising voters to support a candidate.