The counting of the votes polled in seven Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats, where bypolls were held last week, will be taken up on Tuesday amid opposition Samajwadi Party's (SP) charge that the ruling BJP has used the official machinery for "rigging and fraud" to win the elections. An average of over 53 per cent voters exercised their franchise on November 3 to decide the electoral fortune of 88 candidates in Naugaon Sadat, Tundla, Bangarmau, Bulandshahr, Deoria, Ghatampur and Malhani.
Barring Malhani, which was with the SP, the other seats were in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) kitty. At a hurriedly convened virtual press conference, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday accused the BJP of indulging in "rigging, fraud and whatever it could through the administration to win the elections".
"The BJP has done rigging, fraud and whatever it could through (misusing) the administration. The government had made such arrangements that the voters should not come out. I will give detailed information after the results," he said. On the polling day, however, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary had said the pattern of voting indicated that his party was going to win all the seven seats.
At the same time, he had accused the ruling BJP of resorting to tactics to discourage the voters to come out and vote, sensing an impending defeat. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said before the polling that "democracy will win, the coronavirus will lose".
During campaigning, the Adityanath government faced opposition flak over the law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh, particularly after the Hathras and Balrampur rape-and-murder cases. The Naugaon Sadat seat fell vacant after the death of state minister and former cricketer Chetan Chauhan.
The Ghatampur bypoll in Kanpur Nagar district was necessitated due to the death of state minister Kamal Rani Varun. Both the ministers died of COVID-19. The Tundla seat fell vacant after its MLA, S P Singh Baghel, was elected to the Lok Sabha, while the Bangarmau seat in Unnao fell vacant after the conviction of BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in a rape case.
The BJP had dumped Sengar soon after his involvement in the case was alleged. The bypolls to the Bulandshahr, Deoria and Malhani seats were necessitated due to the deaths of sitting MLAs Virendra Singh Sirohi, Janmejay Singh and Parasnath Yadav (SP) respectively.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Aazad's Azad Samaj Party has fielded Mohammad Yameen from Bulandshahr to test its electoral popularity. Bulandshahr has the highest number of 18 candidates while Ghatampur has the lowest of six. Sixteen candidates are in the fray in Malhani, 14 each in Naugaon Sadat and Deoria, 10 each in Bangarmau and Tundla.
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