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Lok Sabha Election Phase 2: UP sees 61.94% turnout; boycott calls galore as disenchanted voters stay away at many places

Lucknow: In the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, polling took place in eight parliamentary constituencies, including Hathras, Aligarh, Mathura, Bulandshahr, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Amroha and Nagina, on Thursday in the second phase of Lok Sabha polls 2019. A voter turnout of 61.94 percent was recorded in the state until 7 pm.

The second phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh saw boycott calls from several quarters and EVM glitches delaying the polling process at several booths. Voters angry with their incumbent lawmakers over different issues, ranging from lack of irrigation facilities to setting up of polling booths far from villages, boycotted the polls in various regions.

Till 6 pm, the voter turnout in Nagina, Amroha, Bulandshahr and Aligarh was 62.10 percent, 68.77 percent, 62.14 percent and 62.80 percent. The turnout in Hathras, Mathura, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri was 61.25 percent, 60.56 percent, 59.60 percent and 61.66 percent.

In Gajpura village of Bijnor district, which falls under the Nagina Lok Sabha constituency, people boycotted the elections as their polling booth was set up at a distance of about one kilometre in Dhampur village. About 600 voters from the village boycotted the polls until election officials reached their and tried to explain to them the importance of casting their votes. Polling began at 2 pm in the shifted booth at Dhampur.

 Lok Sabha Election Phase 2: UP sees 61.94% turnout; boycott calls galore as disenchanted voters stay away at many places

An elderly voter at a polling booth in Agra. Ajendra Chauhan/101Reporters

District officials across these constituencies had a tough time trying to calm agitating voters who had called for a boycott of the election.

In Jagatiya village under the Mathura Lok Sabha constituency, about 256 voters boycotted polling claiming that the government and the sitting lawmaker did nothing for their village.

Sitting MP and BJP contestant Hema Malini, however, in a media interaction claimed, “Development in Mathura is due to my efforts. The SP and BSP are only engaged in fighting with each other.” She also said that there is a “huge Modi wave” across the country this time.

In Kyori polling booth under the Agra Lok Sabha constituency, only two votes were cast until 5 pm as the villagers resorted to a sit-in protest demanding development of their area. Kyori village falls under the Chambal division and the villagers' main demand is that of a motorable road to the village.

Not even a single vote was cast due to a boycott call made at Kala Gaon in Mathura district over the lack of irrigation facilities. Even after district officials motivated the electorate to participate in the democratic exercise, only two votes were cast.

Missing voters

In Agra, several voters' names were missing from the electoral rolls. Mohammad Salim, a resident of Agra whose vote was in booth number 256 of the constituency, claimed the voters’ list did not have the names of his family members, and that names of several others from the same area were missing from the list.

“I have been living in this area since my birth and have exercised my franchise many times, but the name of my family and many other people of our area is missing from the voters' list. We have all the documents, but the polling officials are not allowing us to cast the votes,” Salim said.

Shamima, 22, another Agra resident who came to vote at booth no 256, said she waited in queue for hours only to know that her name is missing from the voters’ list. “I have complained about my name missing from the voters’ list, but no one is helping,” she said, adding that she had not been able to vote even in the last elections.

Voters in Agra. Ajendra Chauhan/101Reporters

Voters in Agra during the second phase of the Lok Sabha election. Ajendra Chauhan/101Reporters

Bulandshahr MP Bhola Singh, when stopped by security personnel at the entrance of a polling booth, placed a call to the District Magistrate, who then facilitated the BJP leader and his supporters’ entry into the polling booth. In a video of the incident, the security officer fielding the call is heard saying that he is not allowed to let leaders go near the EVM. However, in the course of the conversation, he agreed and ultimately allowed Singh inside. The video went viral on social media and the Election Commission swung into action.

Bulandshahr DM Abhay Singh, who came in the line of fire after the incident was reported, said that Singh will now be under close scrutiny for the day. “A candidate is allowed to inspect booths. But there is a way of inspecting booths. You cannot go inside the booth and ask for blessings from voters,” the DM said.

Mathura’s gathbandhan candidate Kunwar Narendra Singh accused the district administration and the Yogi Adityanath government of being responsible for the EVM glitches across constituencies on Thursday.

According to EC officials, over 43 EVMs were replaced in just Amroha.

Lucknow-based political analyst Dr Rudra Dubey sees the boycott call as a protest against the political system. “If people are boycotting the festival of democracy, then it raises the question as to what development has been done in these areas by the respective members of Parliament. We really need to think about what development model the government is giving to us.”

Dubey said, "If politicians contest elections on the promise of development, they must perform, as people want an answer for everything. Just visiting the constituencies will not help."

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2019 21:53:56 IST