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Gross violations during UP polls ignored, results 'contrary to people’s mood'

Counterview Desk 
 Well-known academic and activist Prof Sandeep Pandey in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has insisted on the need to count 100% VVPAT slips in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 and reconduct of poll if any discrepancies are found anywhere. Claiming that the recently-concluded UP Assembly Elections have thrown up a “surprising result” against the backdrop of “anti-incumbency mood in the state”, the letter said, “The results are quite contrary to common people’s expectations."
Also a Magsaysay award winner, Prof Pandey, who is also general secretary of the Socialist Party (India), has been endorsed by Advocate Shashank Singh of the Socialist Lawyers’ Forum; MG Devasahayam, retired IAS and chairperson, People-First; and Teesta Setalvad, well known human rights leader who heads the Citizens for Justice and Peace, among others.
The letter carries a detailed analysis of reasons for suspicion over UP Assembly election results along with copies of a report on violations of model code of conduct and other irregularities during the 2022 UP Assembly elections submitted to ECI on March 10, 2022.

Text of the analysis of for suspicion over UP Assembly election results:

  • There was anger among people of Lakhimpur Khiri over the incident last year in which son of Union State Minister Ajay Mishra Teni had mowed down five people and killed them. Ajay Mishra Teni could not even go for inauguration of a Sugar factory because of warning issued by farmers and he had to cast his vote amidst tightest security of central forces. People were further agitated when Ashish Mishra got bail just before the elections. Under such circumstances Bhartiya Janata Party winning all Assembly seats in Lakhimpur Khiri is unbelievable.
  • Similarly there was resentment among people over the incident in Hathras in which one Dalit girl was raped by four upper caste men, the death of girl in hospital after some time and cremation of dead body by police in the village in early hours of morning instead of handing it over to family and administration being seen trying to protect the accused. BJP winning all seats in Hathras has also come as a surprise.
  • The farmers’ movement had appealed to farmers to punish the anti-farmer forces in election. In western UP it was not possible for BJP politicians to enter certain villages.
  • Problem of stray cattle had been haunting the farmers since 2017. It became an election issue before the fourth phase of polling when the Prime Minister had to say in a meeting in Unnao that if re-elected the BJP government would buy the cowdung from farmers and Chief Minister claimed that government will give Rs. 900 to farmers per cattle per month to bear the cost of keeping the cattles. Even the people who mention free ration or Kisan Samman Nidhi as things in favour of BJP, realise that these are essentially compensation for the crops being devoured by stray cattle.
  • There was disenchantment among youth related to jobs. A B.Ed. girl Shikha Pal was atop an overhead water tank in the Education Directorate for over 150 days as part of an agitation demanding vacant teachers’ positions be filled by qualified candidates and ambulance drivers who were compared with Gods and on whom flower petals were showered during Corona crisis were protesting just before the elections as they were laid off by a private company which had got the contract to run ambulance service. Youth in Prayagraj who got beaten up by police in the context of railway recruitment and their families could not have supported BJP.
  • People are harassed because of price rise. The price of cooking gas has increased so much that some people have reverted to cowdung cakes or wood.
  • n postal ballots Samajwadi Party, the main opposition party, had secured more votes than BJP in 304 constituencies out of a total of 403.
  • In Kursi constituency of Barabanki the SP candidate Rakesh Verma was declared a winner. When he returned after garlanding the statue of his late father Beni Prasad Verma he was told that the BJP candidate Sakendra Pratp had won by 217 votes. The total votes cast through postal ballots in this constituency were 618, which means that the victory margin was less than postal ballot count.
  • In all the 15 constituencies which have been won by a margin of less than 1000 votes, 8 of them by BJP, the postal ballot count is more than the margin, which opens the possibility of manipulation of results by managing the postal ballots. In 29 constituencies where the margin of victory is less than 2000 votes, BJP has won 19 seats.
  • From Hardoi district a government employee has reported that some EVM machines were 99% charged whereas some were only 60-70% charged. The EVMs which were 99% charged contained more votes in favour of BJP. Is it possible that these were the replaced machines?
  • In Lucknow North constituency the SP candidate was leading the count till into the last hour. Suddenly BJP candidate Dr. Neeraj Bora was shown leading and declared winner. There are 27 booths in Faizullahganj-II ward which is an SP supporters’ majority area but in all booths here BJP has been shown to have won. SP candidate Pooja Shukla has complained that EVM machines which were 99% charged gave results in favour of BJP.
  • f we take a look at the attached report of violations of Model Code of Conduct and other irregularities during the 2022 UP Assembly elections, EVMs or postal ballot papers have been caught from government vehicles in Azamgarh, Sant Kabir Nagar, Prayagraj, Bareilly, Sonebhadra and Varanasi before the counting day, 10 March, 2022. It is suspected that large scale bungling has taken place with EVMs and postal ballots.

Report of violations of model code of conduct and other irregularities during the 2022 UP Assembly elections

Published advertisements and news:

22 February: A day before polling in Lucknow edition of Hindi daily Amar Ujala, Volume 235, page no. 2 there is a advertisement of BJP candidate from Lucknow Cantt., Brajesh Pathak.
22 February: On the front page of Amar Ujala, Vol. 235, an advertisement has been published by BJP giving QR code to join the election meeting of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath live from Bahraich which was to go to poll of February 27. Publishing this advertisement in Lucknow means that people from areas which was to go to poll next day were being invited to listen to BJP leaders. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 7 and 8.)
23 February: On the day of polling BJP published full front page advertisement in Amar Ujala, Vol. 236. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 11 and 12.)
23 February: On the day of polling in Amar Ujala, Vol. 236, on an unnumbered page an advertisement has been published in which separate QR codes have been given to join the meeting of Narendra Modi in Barabanki at 11 am and at Kaushambi at 1 pm. Publishing this advertisement in Lucknow area means people on the polling day can be influenced by the speech of BJP leader. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 9 and 10.)
23 February: On the day of polling in Amar Ujala, Lucknow edition, Vol. 236 the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Bakshi ka Talab, Lucknow, Salauddin Siddiqui has published an advertisement on page no. 2.
23 February: On the day of polling English daily Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Metro edition, Vol. 25, No. 45 has published a full front page advertisement of BJP. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 15 and 16.)
23 February: On the day of polling English daily Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Metro edition, Vol. 25, No. 45, on the back of front page an advertisement of BJP candidate from Sarojini Nagar constituency Rajeshwar Singh has been published. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 15 and 16.)
23 February: On the day of polling English daily Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Metro edition, Vol. 25, No. 45, on page no. 1 an advertisement has been published in which separate QR codes have been given to join the meeting of Narendra Modi in Barabanki at 11 am and at Kaushambi at 1 pm. Publishing this advertisement in Lucknow area means people on the polling day can be influenced by the speech of BJP leader.
23 February: On the day of polling English daily Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Metro edition, Vol. 25, No. 45, on page no. 2 an advertisement of Samajwadi Party candidate from Sarojini Nagar constituency Professor Abhishek Mishra has been published.
26 February: On a day before the polling in Barabanki in Amar Uajla, Vol. 239, a full front page advertisement has been published in Lucknow edition, which is read in Barabanki too. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite pages are 11 and 12.)
27 February: On the day of polling in Barabanki, Ayodhya, Amethi, Sultanpur, etc., in fifth phase the Sunday Times edition of English daily Times of India, Lucknow, Vol. 32, No. 9, published a full front page advertisement of BJP.
27 February: On the day of polling in Barabanki, Ayodhya, Amethi, Sultanpur, etc., the Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Metro edition, Vol. 21, No. 9, published a BJP advertisement on page no. 1.
27 February: On the day of polling in Barabanki, Ayodhya, Amethi, Sultanpur, etc., in Amar Ujala, Lucknow edition, Vol. 240, a front full page advertisement of BJP has been published. (Page no. of this page or its back is not given, however attached opposite page is 9.)
27 February: On the day of polling in Barabanki, Ayodhya, Amethi, Sultanpur, etc., in the Sunday Times edition of English daily Times of India, Lucknow, Vol. 32, No. 9, on page no. 6 a statement of Yogi Adityanath has been published in which he says that people who fired over Ram Bhaktas will do Kar Sewa after 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This statement has been given with a view to communally polarize the electorate and justifies the Babri Masjid demolition and associated anarchy and violence.
3 February
: In Hindi daily Jansatta a statement has been published attributed to Aishwarya Mausam Chaudhary, husband of BJP MLA and candidate from Bijnore, Suchi Chaudhary, that Muslims will be asked to take a vow with Quran in their hand, to vote for BJP in return for a promise to build a community centre for them to be used for wedding ceremonies. This is blackmailing/coercion tactics to obtain votes.
On a date between 11 and 15 February: According to a news item published in Dainik Bhaskar, Jind, Haryana the BJP media incharge Vipin Chaudhary and BJP District President of Saharanpur are quoted as saying that on the directions of Chief Minister, Haryana, District Trasnport Officers were asked to arrange 300 buses from Haryana to go to PM’s rally on 10 February in Saharanpur. The buses were to be given their payments at meeting venue, however that was not done. Now the BJP officials claim that District Transport Officers will make the payment in Haryana. This is misuse of government machinery for election campaigning pusrposes by the ruling party.

Objectionable videos

1. The former Block Panchayat Chairperson of Sadar Block in Maharajganj District, Narendra Kharwar, claims that with the patronage of Pankaj Chaudhary, local MP and Union Minister, 200 EVMs were replaced. A case has been filed by the administration.
2. On 6 March on Varanasi highway from Mirzapur at Narayanpur Gujarat police was found to be on election duty and one among them claims that they are here in UP to ensure Yogi’s win. While the Varanasi DM claims this to be a rumour, the Mirzapur police claims to have removed this particular police personnel from duty.
3. In Ballia, before polling, Station House Officer Raj Kumar Singh is congratulating BJP candidate Daya Shankar Singh on his impending victory and a cabinet berth in UP government and tells the candidate that he is escorting him.
4. The Dumariyaganj BJP MLA and candidate Raghvendra Pratap Singh is seen telling people that presently the Muslims have stopped sporting the skull cap and if the people make him victorious again the Muslims would start applying tilak on their forehead and will chant Sita Ram.
5. The Dumariyaganj BJP MLA and candidate Raghvendra Pratap Singh claims that people who’ll not vote for BJP have Muslim blood in their veins.
6. BJP MLA and candidate from Tiloi in Amethi Mayankeshwar Singh is seen issuing a warning to Muslims that their beard will be converted into ‘choti’.
7. BJP MLA and candidate from Etawah Sarita Bhadauria is indulging in emotional blackmailing tactics saying that people have consumed everything, including salt, but do not want to vote for BJP.

Distribution of cash

  1. On 7 March, Amar Ujala, Lucknow edition, Vol. 248 reports on page 5 that in Ghazipur district, Jamania P.S., BJP Mandal President Anil Gupta, Buddhpur resident Nitesh Nigam, Dhanauta resident Rohit Kumar were found to be distributing cash, liquor and BJP stickers. They were caught with Rs. 60,700 cash and four cartons of local liquor.
  2. Socialist Party (India) candidate from Bangermau, Unnao, Anil Kumar Mishra complained on 22 February, a day before the polling, at 9:15 pm to the Returning Officer of Unnao district that money was being distributed in Hafeezabad, part of his constituency.

Presence of Prime Minister and Lieutenant Governor of J&K in eastern UP

Narendra Modi was present for the last three days of campaigning in Varanasi which probably emboldened the district officials to engage in replacement of EVM exercise blatantly. A pickup truck transporting EVMs was caught before the counting in Pahadiya.
Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu Kashmir was present in eastern UP for almost a week to ten days before the polling. His visits to various temples in Varanasi, Chandauli and Ghazipur districts were being reported in press. His presence for a longer duration in the area is questionable.

Attempt to influence EVMs and Ballot Papers

  1. A day before the counting on 9 March in Azamgarh a government vehicle Scorpio UP65 DJ4142 was caught with ballot papers between the strong room and counting centre.
  2. A day before the counting on 9 March in Sant Kabir Nagar district Lekhpal Nagendra Singh was caught entering the counting centre HRPG College with 2 ballot papers.
  3. A day before the counting in Prayagraj a box belonging to Phoolpur constituency was caught in SDM Sadar’s vehicle when it was being offloaded at counting centre. It contained seal, VVPAT slips bearing BJP’s symbol and rubber stamp.
  4. On 8 March, two days before the counting, in Bareilly vehicle UP25 DT9166 belonging to Nagar Palika Parishad, Bahedi was caught with 3 boxes containing ballot papers.
  5. On 8 March, two days before the counting, ballot papers were caught from UP government vehicle UP64 G0217.
  6. On 8 March in Sonebhadra district a vehicle belonging to Naib Tehsildar, Ghorawal was caught with blank ballot papers outside Government Polytechnic college in Lodhi.
  7. In Pahadia, Varanasi a pickup truck was caught with hundreds of EVMs. The Varanasi DM says these machines were being taken for imparting training to government employees whereas Commissioner, Varanasi admitted that there was breach in protocol related to movement of EVMs.

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