Lok Sabha elections 2019: Stray clashes, ink complaints mar voting in key east Uttar Pradesh seats
Thirteen seats went to polls in Uttar Pradesh bringing down the curtains on the 17th general elections. The state recorded a voter turnout of 58.01% as per the Voter Turnout app of the Election Commission. In Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood for a re-election, the voter turnout was 57.81%.
Among the state’s 80 seats, 13 went to polls including Varanasi, Maharajganj, and chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf Gorakhpur. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were in alliance in the state.
SP and Bharatiya Janata Party workers clashed over installing their party flags at Parashurampur polling booth in Chandauli. The police had to use mild force to control the situation.
In another incident, residents of Tarajeevanpur village in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, along with SP-BSP workers, staged a protest outside Alinagar police station alleging that BJP workers forcibly applied indelible ink on the fingers of five people and gave them ~500 each asking them to skip voting.
“On the complaint of villagers, the police registered a case against seven people and arrested two of them,” superintendent of police (SP), Chandauli, Santosh Singh said.
“This is the ploy of our rivals to defame us. Why would the BJP do such things when we are already winning the seat by a huge margin?” BJP spokesman Harish Srivastava asked.
Voters of two villages, Odauli in Sonbhadra and Madhopur in Varanasi, boycotted polling. Residents of Odauli said despite their demands, link road to the village was not repaired. In Madhopur too, people said no development took place in their village.
In Gorakhpur and Bansgaon constituencies, two election officials died of sudden illness.
“Rajaram, 56, a polling officer at Prathmik Vidyalay Madhopur in Pipraich area in Gorakhpur seat, suddenly fell ill. He was rushed to a community health centre where he was pronounced dead,” assistant election officer JN Maurya said. In Bansgaon, Vinod Srivastav, 50, died around midnight due to cardiac arrest. He was an employee with the sugarcane department.
Reports of EVM malfunctioning were reported from some places but polling was not hampered.
Eight farmers were detained in Kushinagar when they boycotted election and staged a protest by carrying sugarcane-laden tractor trolley to booths, alleging that a sugar mill had stopped cane crushing and their produce was perishing.
Besides Modi, 25 other candidates were in the fray in Varanasi. Modi’s main challengers were Congress’ Ajay Rai and SP-BSP candidate Shalini Yadav.