5 Hours ago
LUCKNOW: Bypolls to one Lok Sabha and two assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh saw moderate voting till 1 pm, even as the two main contenders Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BJP accused each other of disrupting the electoral process.
The SP, through its official Twitter handle, alleged the use of police force and also said officials on election duty were preventing people from casting their votes.
It also posted a video accusing the BJP agents of distributing money in Mainpuri's Bhogaon area.
On the other hand, the BJP too alleged on Twitter that in some booths, "unscrupulous elements of the SP" were preventing people from casting their votes and sought the Election Commission's intervention.
A party delegation also met the state chief electoral officer and handed over a memorandum.
When asked about the allegation, BJP state president Bhupinder Singh Chaudhary said, "The SP is making baseless allegations as it is going to taste defeat in all the three seats."
Meanwhile, the EC said in a statement, "Till 1 pm, Mainpuri witnessed 31.61 per cent while Rampur and Khatauli had 19.01 and 33.2 per cent polling. The voting began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm."
The bypolls are witnessing a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the opposition Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) alliance.
The BSP and Congress are not contesting the seats.
In a tweet, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath appealed to people "to vote for security, development and good governance".
On the three seats, 24.43 lakh people -- 13.14 lakh men, 11.29 lakh women and 132 third-gender voters -- are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Voting is underway at 3,062 polling booths located in 1,945 polling centres.
The by-election to the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat is taking place due to the death of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, while the bypolls in Rampur Sadar and Khatauli were necessitated after SP MLA Azam Khan and BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini were disqualified following their conviction in separate cases.
While Khan was disqualified after a court awarded him three-year imprisonment in a 2019 hate speech case, Saini lost his membership of the assembly after his conviction in a 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case.
For the SP, the bypolls in Mainpuri, earlier represented by its founder multiple times, and Rampur are crucial as it had lost the bypolls in June in Azamgarh and the Rampur Lok Sabha seat, which was once known as its citadels.
There are six candidates in the fray in Mainpuri, 14 in Khatauli and 10 candidates in Rampur Sadar, according to the Election Commission.
In Mainpuri, Mulayam Singh Yadav's elder daughter-in-law and SP president Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav is pitted against BJP's Raghuraj Singh Shakya.
The BJP candidate, who was once a close associate of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party chief and Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, joined the saffron party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls held earlier this year.
In Rampur Sadar, the BJP has fielded Akash Saxena, son of former party MLA Shiv Bahadur Saxena, against senior Azam Khan's protege Asim Raja.
In Khatauli, the fight is between Vikram Singh Saini's wife Rajkumari Saini and Madan Bhaiya from the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The votes will be counted on December 8.
The outcomes of the bypolls will not have any impact on the central or the state governments as the BJP enjoys a comfortable majority at both levels.
However, a win would provide a psychological advantage ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections. (AIR NEWS)