July 11, 2021 4:08:31 am
AMIDST reports of widespread violence, the BJP claimed to have swept elections for block panchayat chiefs held on Saturday in Uttar Pradesh, saying candidates backed by it had won 649 of 825 posts. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who celebrated the victory at the BJP office, said the conduct of the polls had shown “individuals and parties can contest elections peacefully” in UP.
Initial reports indicated 91 candidates backed by the Samajwadi Party had won, with 85 posts going to others. Elections were held for 476 posts, with results declared for 349 uncontested following filing of nominations on Friday. The BJP claimed that 290 of them were its candidates.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated BJP workers after Saturday’s results and said they reflected the trust people placed in the Adityanath government.
All through the conduct of elections to the three tiers of panchayat elections in the estate, from nomination to voting, the Opposition has claimed use of force and violence by the ruling party. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said Saturday that the BJP had disrespected the people’s mandate and kidnapped block panchayat members to get them to vote in its favour. “The BJP converted the state into a war zone during the three-phased panchayat polls,” he said.
Addressing the media, Adityanath said, “While democracy used to be compromised during elections in the time of previous governments, we showed that individuals and parties can contest elections peacefully.” He added that the panchayat results are an appreciation of the fact that the government had taken welfare schemes to everybody without discrimination, in keeping with ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.
“The State Election Commission has played its role in the peaceful and unbiased elections… In such a large state, completing such an election is a great thing. Jis rajya me loktantra ko jaati, mat aur mazhab ke dayre me baant kar ke, peshewar aparadhi aur mafiyaon ke samne girvi rakhne ka prayas kisi kalkhand me hota tha, aaj wahan par shantipoorna tareeke se pratyek naagrik aur pratyek dal chunav ladh sakta hai (In a state where democracy used to be constrained within the boundaries of caste, belief and religion, and where democracy was pledged before professional criminals and mafia during dark times, each citizen and party can today contest elections peacefully),” Adityanath said.
“Be it zila panchayats or block panchayats, we have a majority, with more than 85% seats. This is the result of us taking the Central and state government policies to everyone.”
Modi tweeted, “Benefits to the people by Yogi Adityanath government’s policies and welfare schemes have been reflected in the victory.” Shah congratulated Adityanath and said the win was a result of people’s faith in the Yogi government’s welfare schemes run “on the directions of PM Modi”.
In a statement, Akhilesh said block president candidates and members were kidnapped. “In Basti, the SP district chief’s house was raided. In Unnao, the CDO assaulted journalists. In Etawah, a police officer was beaten up by BJP men.” He said its representations to the State Election Commissioner had gone unheard.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the “jungle raj” of Adityanath had prevailed over “jantantra”. “The people selected kshetra panchayat members by their votes, but the jungle-raj of Yogi ji threatened them using bullets, bombs, stones and canes, kidnapped them, and misbehaved with women members,” she tweeted.
Earlier, on July 3, the BJP claimed to have swept the elections for zila panchayat presidents, winning 66 of 75 posts. Out of the 75 posts, 22 were declared uncontested — with the BJP claiming all barring one for the SP.
On Saturday, Adityanath also expressed his condolences to family members of officials, police personnel and polling officers on duty who died after catching Covid-19 during the election process. He said the government had already decided to give them compensation.
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