A DELEGATION led by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi reached Lucknow on Sunday for a three-day tour to review preparations for the 2017 polls and ongoing summary revision of the electoral rolls.
The poll panel held separate meetings with all the parties. All Opposition parties, expressing a lack of faith in the local police, demanded that central forces be deployed for the elections.
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The ruling SP, however, assured the EC that the state government and local administration will fully cooperate in holding fair and peaceful elections.
The BJP, raising the alleged migration of Hindu families from Kairana, demanded that the EC ensures an atmosphere of safety, not only in Kairana, but in other parts of western UP so that those who have migrated could return to vote.
The delegation, comprising MLA Satish Mahana and in-charge of the party’s poll management cell Shyam Nandan Singh, informed the EC that a recent NHRC report has stated that “resettlement of 25,000-30,000” Muslims – who had fled Muzaffarnagar after the 2013 riots – was one of the reasons behind Hindu families migrating from Kairana in Shamli.
In June, BJP MP Hukum Singh had released a list of 346 people who, he claimed, had moved out of Kairana because of the extortion by “one particular community” as well as lack of security for people.
In a memorandum to EC, BJP members said those staying in Kairana were also living in fear. “We have urged the EC to ensure that those who have migrated because of fear should be able to vote safely,” said Singh.
Mahana added: “…The police could be used to influence elections. The BJP has also demanded the EC to remove those police officers who are inclined towards the ruling party from the poll process.”
The party also sought the EC’s intervention in the Akhilesh government’s decision to distribute free smart phones to the poor.
The Samajwadi Party delegation comprised MLCs Ambika Chaudhary, Ashok Bajpai and Naresh Uttam.
After the meeting, Chaudhary said: “We have assured the EC that fair elections would be held. The state government is completely prepared and all necessary arrangements will be made to conduct elections peacefully.”
He added that the government has no objection if the EC decided to deploy central forces to conduct the polls. “The state police and establishment will function impartially… The local police and administration is responsible for law and order and have to provide security during elections… police will do its job fairly,” said Chaudhary.
Alleging anomalies in the electoral rolls, BSP state president Ram Achal Rajbhar also urged EC to deploy central forces. The Congress too made a similar demand, citing that people have no faith in the local police due to dominance of a particular caste in the force.
The RLD, meanwhile, demanded that EC should transfer those police officers who have been deployed at a police station for more than two years.
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