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EC tightens noose around Jat land in UP elections

The commission is determined to provide fear-free atmosphere for fair polling in second phase on April 13, reports M Hasan.

lucknow Updated: Apr 10, 2007 00:08 IST
M Hasan
M Hasan

“Jat land” of western UP is in for the EC shock. In view of the sensitivity of the region the election commission has not been leaving any thing to chance. The commission is determined to provide fear-free atmosphere for fair polling in second phase on April 13.

The commission has undertaken unprecedented security arrangements in 58 constituencies spread over in ten districts. In view of the communal sensitivity of the region additional UP police and PAC have been provided for separate manning of troubled spots. Second phase is going to litmus test for the commission. The chief electoral officer AK Bishnoi along with senior police officers would be visiting ten districts during next two days to review the security arrangements. He said the commission would ensure tight security during the polling.

The leader of the teachers group in the Vidhan Parishad Om Prakash Sharma, who belongs to Meerut told Hindustan Times on Monday that the “land of kidnappings” was also notorious for the poll violence and large-scale booth capturing. Muzaffarnagar is known as “kidnapping capital” of the state. “ With Jat and Gujar ruling roost in rural areas Jatavs (dalits) were hardly allowed to vote in the past”, commented Sharma.

The Jan Morcha president Raj Babbar, MP from Agra, said free and fair voting in “Yadav land” in first phase had now emboldened the electorates of second phase. He said EC had frustrated the planning of booth capturers. He said from Ghaziabad to Saharanpur various Jat and Gujar Mafisoi belonging to almost all political parties had been intimidating the voters and capturing booths over the years.

However Sharma said confidence level of the people in the region had improved and there was feeling that “this time they would be able to exercise their franchise”.

While deploying 665 companies of central para-military forces (CPMF) the commission has also arranged 50 companies of PAC and nearly 30,000 civil police. Talking to HT a senior police officer involved in force deployment said “communally sensitive places like Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Aligarh” had been given additional companies of PAC.

Since the region had been known for Jat versus Jatav clashes, moves are afoot to provide adequate protection weaker section. “Booth capturing had been wide spread phenomenon in rural areas”, said Sharma and added even upper castes “could not vote”. Prominent places known for booth capturing were Kairana, Sardhana, Baghra, Khekra, Garhmukteshwar and Shamli. Sharma said while Muzaffarnagar hogged the limelight for the activities of a Mafiosi from the minority community, Lodh community in Bulandshahr created problems in the previous elections. Sharma said in the past even polling parties were threatened, as the local police colluded with the criminals.

First Published: Apr 10, 2007 00:06 IST