New Delhi: Counting of votes for the crucial by-elections in UP’s Gorakhpur is underway and it has fallen on the dead to count votes in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf. The Gorakhpur district administration has assigned counting duty to government employees who have passed away.
In fact, this isn’t the first time the dead have been assigned election duty. On polling day, on Sunday morning, the district administration had assigned polling duty to two dead engineers. On Wednesday, as votes were being counted, the district administration repeated its mistake.
The State Employees’ United Council has even written a letter to the District Election Officer, complaining about the incident. Rakesh Kumar and Anil Kumar, two junior engineers in the Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (UPPWD), died last year. Despite their death, their names featured on the list of officials who were assigned duty on polling day and counting of votes on Monday and Wednesday respectively.
The UP bypolls were marked by a low voter turnout. Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a polling percentage of 47.45 percent while Phulpur saw a turnout of only 37.39 percent at the close of the voting on Sunday, the Election Commission said.
Out of the 19.49 lakh voters in Gorakhpur, only around 9.34 lakh voters exercised their right on Sunday. In Phulpur, rural Assembly segments of Phaphamau (43%), Soraon (45%) and Phulpur (46.32%) saw a higher turnout than the urban segments of Allahabad West (31%) and Allahabad North (21.65%).
For the first time, there is nobody from the Gorakhpur Peeth, of which CM Yogi Adityanath is the head, is contesting the election. The BJP has fielded Upendra Dutt Shukla, Samajwadi Party has fielded Praveen Nishad and Congress has fielded Surhita Karim from Gorakhpur. In Phulpur, BJP’s Kaushalendra Patel is up against SP’s Nagendra Patel and Congress candidate Manish Mishra.