Over 33 per cent of the electorate in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghosi Assembly constituency cast their votes till 1 pm for the by-election on Tuesday, the first electoral showdown in Uttar Pradesh after the formation of the opposition INDIA bloc.
Voting began at 7 am and is being held at 455 polling stations. It is slated to conclude at 6 pm.
The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of Dara Singh Chauhan, who had won the seat in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, from the Samajwadi Party in July. He returned to the BJP and was selected by the party to contest the bypoll.
The Samajwadi Party has fielded Sudhakar Singh for the bypoll.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led party has alleged misuse of official machinery in the bypoll and has written to the Election Commission on the matter. It was alleged that Muslim voters were being prevented from exercising their franchise in some places.
Till 1 pm, 33.52 per cent of votes were polled, the office of the state chief electoral officer said.
The SP’s national executive member Arvind Kumar Singh has written to the Chief Election Commissioner alleging that Muslim voters in booth number 147 are not being allowed to vote by the polling officer.
Despite their names being on the voter list, they are being told to go back since their votes have already been cast, he alleged.
The letter claimed that when voters resisted, the police and polling officials ”at the behest of the ruling BJP are using abusive words to drive them away”. It is a criminal act to deprive any voter of his franchise, Singh said in the letter.
It also alleged that Ravindra Nath, a village head, and Dharmendra Yadav, a polling agent, were being pressured to vote in favour of the BJP.
Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak rejected the Samajwadi Party’s allegations, claiming that the opposition party was fearing defeat in the bypoll.
”BJP will win the Ghosi bypoll. People are stepping out of their houses to bless the BJP with their votes. They made these allegations out of fear of losing the election. How can anyone cast their vote without ID? This election is being organised fairly,” he said.
In the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Chauhan defeated BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Rajbhar by a margin of 22,216 votes. Ghosi had recorded a polling percentage of 58.59.
In the bypoll, Chauhan is being supported by NDA partners Apna Dal (Sonelal), Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal (NISHAD) Party and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, a former SP ally.
On the other hand, Samajwadi Party candidate Sudhakar Singh has received support from INDIA bloc constituents — the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, RLD, AAP, CPI(ML)-Liberation and Suheldev Swabhiman Party.
The bypoll will have no bearing on the BJP government, which enjoys a comfortable majority in the 403-member state assembly. However, its outcome could be an indicator of what is in store for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Of the nearly 4.30 lakh voters in Ghosi, it is estimated that around 90,000 are Muslims, 60,000 Dalits, 45,000 Bhumihars, 16,000 Rajputs and 6,000 Brahmins.
A total of 10 candidates are in the fray. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has not fielded any candidate in the bypoll. The counting of votes will be held on September 8.