In the first two hours of voting in the Gola Gokarannath constituency of Uttar Pradesh, where bypolls are being held on Thursday, an average voter turnout of more than 23% was recorded.
While a senior official stated that voting was going on peacefully, the Samajwadi Party (SP) claimed that some polling stations had been taken over by ruling BJP workers.
“BJP workers have taken over polling stations in Lalahapur, Madanpur, and Lakshmanjati in the Gola Gokarannath assembly. SP voters, booth in-charges, and agents have all been evicted. The Election Commission should take note of this and ensure fair elections,” the SP said in Hindi.
“Polling is taking place peacefully,” said a senior official. In the first four hours, 23.56 percent of votes were cast.” Over 3.90 lakh voters are eligible to vote on the fate of the seven contestants. The polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m.
The bypoll was called after BJP MLA Arvind Giri died on September 6.
The BSP and the Congress are boycotting the election this time. The main contest is between the BJP’s Aman Giri, Arvind Giri’s son, and former Gola Gokarannath MLA Vinay Tiwari of the Samajwadi Party.
Voters in rural areas outnumbered those in urban areas in the early hours of the election. Both candidates have cast their ballots.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led the BJP’s campaign.
Ajay Mishra Teni’s Lakhimpur Kheri parliamentary constituency includes Gola Gokarannath. Mishra has been in the eye of a storm since the murder of four farmers during violence in October of last year. His son is one of the defendants in the case.
During his campaign, Adityanath promised to clear sugarcane debts as soon as possible, build a Chhoti Kashi corridor similar to Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath corridor, and establish a medical college.
Akhilesh Yadav, the chief of the Samajwadi Party (SP), did not campaign, and the party was led by state president Naresh Uttam.
The byelection result will have little impact on the state government, as the BJP and its allies have an overwhelming majority in the 403-member Assembly.
However, in the run-up to the 2024 general elections, it would be a test of strength between the rivals.