Panchayat polls: SP leader booked for capturing booth in Mainpurihttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/panchayat-polls-sp-leader-booked-for-capturing-booth-in-mainpuri/

Panchayat polls: SP leader booked for capturing booth in Mainpuri

The FIR comes after a video went viral, which showed Tota Ram allegedly stamping ballot papers.

A Samajwadi Party leader and 14 others were booked for allegedly capturing a polling booth in the Mainpuri district during the second phase of panchayat elections on Tuesday (October 13). The FIR has been lodged against SP leader and the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Processing and Construction Cooperative Federation (PACCFED) Tota Ram Yadav and others at Bewar police station.

The FIR comes after a video went viral Friday, which showed Tota Ram allegedly stamping ballot papers in bulk at Raipur polling booth in Bewar block as poll staff and police remained mute spectators, SHO Narendra Singh said.

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Tota Ram is contesting for zila panchayat membership from ward No. 6 of Bewar block, which includes the Raipur booth, where the alleged incident took place.
District magistrate Chandra Pal Singh said that a repoll has been ordered at the affected booth on October 29. “I had directed the officials to lodge an FIR against Tota Ram and 14 others, including seven security officials and four election officials deployed on duty there,” the DM added.

State election commissioner S K Agarwal said he has seen the video after which he talked to top officials and asked them to verify it an” “if found true strict action should be taken irrespective of the fact that who is the person concern”d”.

The complaint against Tota Ram was lodged by Raj Kumar, the election officer of the ward, the SHO said adding all accused have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC, Representation of People Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. No arrests have been made, he said.

Tota Ram, however, denied the accusation and said there were several “discrepancies” in the video.

“As you can see that man shown in the video is fat, whereas I am lean and thin. Besides, I never wore ‘payjama’ in my entire life. If it (booth capturing) is proved, then I will retire from political life,” he said.

BJP took the opportunity to attack SP government for “irregularities” in panchayat polls and accused it of misusing the government machinery in favour of its candidates. “People have not forgotten Etah incident and now this fresh video of Yadav, who enjoys the status of minister of state, has went viral,” BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak alleged.

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During the second phase of polling, a zila panchayat member candfidates, Pushpendra Yadav, who is also nephew of Etah MLA Rameshwar Yadav, had allegedly abused and threatened a Deputy SP telling him that he was going to capture booths and dared the officer to stop him. The officer recorded the conversation, which later went viral.

(With PTI inputs)