Baseless complaint, says EC on Sanjeev Balyan’s allegation of ‘fake voting’ by ‘burqa clad’ voters
Former Union minister Sanjeev Balyan on Thursday alleged that votes were being cast fraudulently in his Lok Sabha constituency in western Uttar Pradesh. Balyan is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency, where voting was underway along with 90 other parliamentary seats in the first phase of the national elections.
Balyan complained, according to news agency ANI, that the faces of burqa-clad voters were not being verified by the election officials conducting poll in the Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency.
“Faces of women in burqa are not being checked and I allege that fake voting is taking place,” ANI quoted Balyan as saying in Muzaffarnagar after casting his vote.
He also said that he will demand a re-poll if his concerns are not addressed. The former Union minister is seeking a re-election from the constituency.
Responding to the allegation by Balyan, deputy district election officer Amit Singh said, “The complaint was investigated…It was found that voters were allowed to cast their votes only after verifying their ID cards. It is a baseless complaint.”
Balyan is facing Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh from Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency. Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha seat is considered one of the communally sensitive seats in western Uttar Pradesh.
In 2013, Muzaffarnagar saw riots that had taken political colours with the BJP and then ruling Samajwadi Party in the state accusing each other of fanning communal tension in the region.
Muslims constitute the single biggest electorate in Muzaffarnagar Lok Sabha constituency followed by Dalits. Jats have dominated the landscape of western Uttar Pradesh and are influential in the constituency.
Ajit Singh, whose RLD is part of the grand-alliance in Uttar Pradesh, has significant support base among the Jat community. The RLD chief entered the poll fray against the sitting BJP legislator Balyan hoping that as the grand-alliance candidate, he will be able to garner support of the Muslim and Dalit voters also.
The Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati is contesting 38 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh as per seat-sharing arrangement of the grand-alliance. The SP led by Akhilesh Yadav is contesting 37 seats while the RLD has put up three candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.
The grand-alliance has decided not to field candidates from Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats to avoid division of Opposition’s votes against the BJP. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are the sitting MPs from Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Polling is underway for the first phase of general elections is underway for eight out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.