SP chief Akhilesh Yadav accused cops and district authorities of “preventing people from voting”, a charge dismissed by BJP and police. The voting percentage was 52% in Mainpuri, where his wife Dimple Yadav is the party candidate. Khatauli and Rampur Sadar assembly seats recorded 56% and 31% polling till 5pm. Akhilesh said voters carrying valid IDs were sent back. “Police also lathi-charged voters, injuring many. I have photos of them,” he said.
Also, a video purportedly showing DSP Rakesh Kumar stopping voters in Khatauli was posted on SP’s Twitter handle, alleging that the police officer was working for BJP.
The Rampur turnout was 25. 4% lower than the 56% recorded in the assembly elections of March this year. In Khatauli of riots-hit Muzaffarnagar, the March percentage was almost70%. Mainpuri had recorded nearly 57% turnout in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when it elected Mulayam.
Mainpuri SP Kamlesh Dixit dismissed the charges, while state minister Sanjeev Balyan said BJP will win the elections “and hence, SP is making baseless allegations”.
Rampur’s turnout was the lowest since 1951 when the constituency recorded 38. 1%. Rampur has been a SP stronghold, particularly of its leader Azam Khan, since 1993 (only losing to Congress in 1996). Last month, Azam was disqualified following his conviction in a hate speech case.
The turnout was low in Kurhani assembly constituency of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district too. It recorded around 58% voting, the Election Commission said. It wasthe lowest voting percentage for three elections—64. 19 % in 2020 and 65. 13% in 2015. This, according to election experts, could queer the pitch as a higher voting percentage is considered an advantage for the opposition candidate. The main battle is between threetime MLA Manoj Kumar Kushwaha of JD(U) and one-time MLA Kedar Prasad Gupta of BJP.
In contrast, an impressive 80% voters exercised their ballot in Padampur assembly bypolls in Odisha, bettering the seat’s 2019 tally of 79%. Analysts attributed the high turnout to a power-packed campaign by BJP and the governing BJD, with CM Naveen Patnaik canvassing for the first time for a byelection since 2019. Chief electoral officer SK Lohani said the final figures would be higher as many voters, who turned up by 4pm, were waiting their turn in some stations till after 6pm.
About 70% polling was reported in the bypolls to Sardarshahar constituency in Rajasthan’s Churu, where a triangular contest was witnessed with former BJP ally RLP fielding its candidate against BJP and Congress.
In the Bhanupratappur assembly bypolls of Chhattisgarh, an estimated 71. 7% of the electorate cast their vote by 3pm. Security was tight, considering that Kanker is a Maoist-affected area.