Ghaziabad civic polls: Khoda remains peaceful during first polls
Khoda was declared a nagar palika in 2016 and has a voter base of nearly 1.55 lakh voters.Updated: Nov 26, 2017 23:24 IST
Polling in sensitive areas of Khoda remained peaceful on Sunday, the day of its first local body elections. Officials said the nagar palika recorded a final voter turnout of around 51%, an improvement from the 14.06% recorded in the morning.
Khoda was declared a nagar palika in 2016 and has a voter base of nearly 1.55 lakh voters. A majority of shops and small business establishments remained shut as the locality witnessed hectic polling activity amid huge police presence.
Tucked among the borders of Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad, Khoda is spread over a 12-square kilometre area with an estimated population of over 10 lakh, comprising mostly migrants. Khoda is touted as the largest unauthorised colony of Uttar Pradesh with around 2,200 by-lanes in the neighbourhood.
Khoda has remained in the news as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Gajendra Bhati, was gunned down by two armed assailants on September 2. Former MLA Amarpal Sharma is in jail for allegedly conspiring to murder Bhati.
The contest among 12 contenders for the post of chairperson of Khoda was the centre of attention, as Gajendra’s wife Reena Bhati and Amarpal’s wife Mohini Sharma went up against each other in the polls.
A majority of streets in different localities of Khoda were studded with banners and posters of Reena, along with her late husband.
“Many believe that the two contenders will have a tough fight. Locals here know about the rivalry and both women have campaigned hard to outperform the other. I think that Reena has an edge over Mohini as people came out to listen to her wherever she spoke. I feel she has been wronged,” said Satish Kashyap, a resident.
However, Khoda also has other contenders from the Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress. The Samajwadi Party did not field a candidate but gave support to Mohini a couple of days before her campaign ended.
“I feel that the main contest is among Mohini, Reena and the BSP candidate, as they have marked their presence in different wards of Khoda. It could be anybody’s seat,” said Pramod Srivastava, a resident.
Police, provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and PCR vans remained deployed in every ward of Khoda.
“Khoda became sensitive in the wake of elections as both rival groups campaigned hard. However, we deployed nearly 1,250 police and security personnel and kept a tight watch on the 41 polling centres and 173 polling booths. Armed personnel were posted at all such places. A round-the-clock vigil was maintained by the police and polling took place peacefully,” said Prem Ranjan Singh, returning officer, Khoda.
Apart from the post of the chairperson, 227 candidates are in the fray for the post of councillors from all 34 wards in the locality.
First Published: Nov 26, 2017 23:24 IST