BSP alleges police stopped Dalits from voting, UP CEO says baseless charge
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alleged that the state police stopped Dalits from casting votes in the first phase of elections on Thursday but Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer L Venkateshwar Lu dismissed the charge as baseless .
“We are receiving information from various polling stations that BSP voters, especially Dalits, are being stopped from reaching polling booths. The police are even going to the extent of using force to stop people from exercising their franchise,” BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra told reporters earlier in the day.
“This is apparently being done following the diktats of higher authorities. Immediate intervention is required on this otherwise there is no purpose of elections and advertisements of the Election Commission asking people to vote,” he said but did not mention any place where the alleged offences to place.
Mishra said he had also talked to the director general of police OP Singh asking him to take appropriate action.
Hours after Mishra’s complaint, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted that it was sinful and criminal to deny Dalits their right to franchise.
Chief electoral officer L Venkateshwar Lu at a press conference at the end of polling said no formal complaint was lodged by the BSP.
“Again on the basis of media reports, the Election Commission sought report from all the district magistrates regarding the complaint. The DMs, in their reports, stated that no one was stopped from voting. There was also no report of intimidation in the eight Lok Sabha constituencies that went to polls,” the CEO said.
Hitting out at the SP-BSP alliance, UP health minister Sidharth Nath Singh said, “The way senior BSP leader SC Mishra has complained to the EC that Dalits are not being allowed to vote, it is clear that the calculations of the alliance is not working.”
He said the reports after the first phase of elections indicated that the BJP would repeat its performance of 2014 Lok Sabha election.
“It is now clear that the core voter of Mayawati is still supporting Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party,” he added.