Ahead of Monday’s voting, UP Police and Election Commission officials on Sunday raided a BJP office in Varanasi and seized a large quantity of alleged pamphlets from a vehicle parked outside the premises . However, within hours, the EC “closed” the case, saying no irregularity had taken place.
The search was conducted by the flying squad of police personnel and EC authorities amidst a ban on all election campaign activities since Saturday evening in the city. BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi is pitted against AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ Ajay Rai here.
After the police did not find anything incriminating in the seized material, EC’s Special Observer Praveen Kumar said that it would be returned to the party. Later, a statement was released by the EC in Delhi saying, “On receipt of a complaint, a flying squad checked the vehicle at the office of the BJP in Varanasi. After obtaining a report from special observer and after finding that no irregularity has taken place,the commission has directed the release of the material and drop further action.”
The raid, however, prompted protests by BJP leaders and workers, who accused the EC officials of being biased. BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi in Delhi questioned why only the BJP office was raided and not that of others as “the poll authorities could have recovered a lot more had they raided others also”. She also accused the district authorities of working under the SP government’s influence.
In a similar incident a week ago, police had raided the AAP office on a complaint filed by the BJP complaint. In that raid too, nothing incriminating was found at the AAP office. ENS & PTI inputs
Raids across town to evict outsiders
UP Police conducted several raids across Varanasi on Sunday to locate members of AAP and BJP who had arrived from across the country to campaign for their respective candidates. The administration suspected that scores of supporters of the two parties had not left Varanasi even after the deadline to leave the temple town had ended on Saturday evening. (ENS)