Samajwadi Party workers across Uttar Pradesh are facing police cases for checking government vehicles entering counting centres the day before the counting of votes for the state election that concluded on March 10.
Controversy had erupted two days before the counting when Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, the biggest challenger to the BJP, alleged that Electronic Voting Machines were being stolen from a counting Centre in Varanasi. Mr Yadav had urged party workers to guard EVMs, or Electronic Voting Machines, round the clock before the counting process began.
The same night and the next day, Samajwadi Party workers had assembled in large numbers across counting centres in all 75 districts of the state, and videos from multiple locations had emerged of government vehicles being checked by them before entering the counting centres.
In eastern UP’s Basti district, 7 different cases have been filed against 100 Samajwadi Party workers.
“Samajwadi Party workers were checking vehicles belonging to senior government officials on the day before counting in an unauthorised manner. We have filed 7 cases on complaints by the staff of these officials. The sections include those of hindering the work of a government official,” Basti police chief Ashish Shrivastava said in a statement.
A top party leader in Basti has alleged party workers are being targeted by the BJP government. “Four Samajwadi party MLAs have been elected from the Basti district. Since that day, false cases are being filed against party workers and leaders. We have told the district magistrate to stop this or we will protest,” Mahendra Nath Yadav, the newly elected SP MLA from the Basti Sadar seat, said.
800 kilometres away, in western UP’s Hapur, the police have filed a case against 6 Samajwadi Party workers who have been named and 30 unnamed ones, accusing them of manhandling government officials the day before counting and preventing them from entering the counting centre in the district.
In central UP’s Hardoi, 100 Samajwadi Party workers were booked on March 11 by the police for similar reasons, and two named accused were arrested this morning. One of those arrested had switched over to BJP-ally Nishad Party two days after the election results.
In the recently concluded state assembly elections, the BJP and its allies won a total of 273 out of the 403 seats in the politically significant state. This was a drop of 49 seats from the party’s tally in the 2017 elections when it unseated the Samajwadi Party government.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led party won 111 seats on its own and the alliance led by it posted a victory in 125 constituencies. This was a jump of 73 from its show in the 2017 election. This was also the Samajwadi Party’s best performance ever.