April 23, 2019 6:01:48 pm
District authorities Tuesday raided a house in Badaun after the Samajwadi Party complained that a state minister was violating poll rules and camping in the constituency from where his daughter is contesting.
Uttar Pradesh minister Swami Prasad Maurya was not found at the house, but the SP nominee Dharmendra Yadav charged persisted with his allegation. SP president Akhilesh Yadav too had referred to “reports” about the minister being present in the constituency.
The BJP has fielded Sanghmitra Maurya against Yadav, who is seeking re-election from Badaun. Election rules require party functionaries to leave a constituency when campaigning ends – and till polling is over – unless they are themselves registered as voters there.
The SP candidate alleged that the minister was staying on in the constituency to influence voting on Tuesday in his daughter’s favour. The minister is also in charge of the district in the Yogi Adityanath government.
City magistrate Kamlesh Kumar Awasthi said there were reports about the minister being present at a house and a raid was carried out on the directions of District Magistrate Dinesh Kumar Singh.
But only the house owner’s family members were found there, he said. Yadav reiterated his charge even after the raid.
“The minister is still hiding in the constituency and influencing polling in favour of his daughter, and the administration which claims to have carried out a search had alerted him before reaching there,” he alleged. “The raid was eyewash,” he charged.
“If he is not here, he should immediately appear before the media wherever he is and prove me wrong,” the SP candidate told PTI. The administration should also track his mobile number, he said.
“A conspiracy to kill democracy is being carried out with the help of the administration, and the EC should today prove its impartiality,” he said. “It is acting as an agent of the BJP,” Yadav alleged.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote in Saifai (Etawah), SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the EC should take cognisance of the reports from Badaun.
“I have come to know that a state minister is trying to influence polling in Badaun, from where his daughter is contesting,” he claimed. “Officials are saying that the EVMs are not running for the lack of proper training. Is this digital India being promised by the government?” he said.
An SP delegation which met UP Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu in Lucknow, complaining about the electronic voting machines, also repeated the allegation against the minister.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer B R Tiwari said, “We have taken cognisance of all these points and sought a detailed report from the returning officer.” He said directives have been issued to the returning officer to take immediate action.
Last week, Sanghmitra Maurya was caught on camera purportedly encouraging her supporters to indulge in fake voting.
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