Statewide alert, Oppn asks cadres to stay vigilant

Amid controversy over security of EVMs, political parties resorted to posturing on the eve of counting of votes by asking their cadres to remain alert even as chief minister Yogi Adityanath sounded a warning that those attempting to foment trouble would be sternly dealt with.

The state police on Wednesday sounded an alert and made extensive deployment of forces at 77 counting centres across 75 districts. The state police headquarters issued directives to intensify vigil and ensure deployment at sensitive locations where violence is apprehended.

Moreover, victory processions have been strictly prohibited to avert any clash.

The alert was sounded after union home ministry raised apprehensions of violence in different parts of the country during counting. The ministry asked all the states and union territories to maintain law and order.

UP director general of police (DGP) OP Singh said all district police chiefs had been asked to take stern action on rumour-mongers.

He said at least 36 districts including Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Jhansi, Mau and Kanpur have been identified as sensitive and special force had been deployed there.

On Tuesday, the BSP candidates in Ghazipur, Domariyaganj and Ghosi constituencies had raised objections over the transportation of unused EVMs prompting the opposition parties to ask their cadres to step up vigil at strongrooms.

The Election Commission also issued a clarification on Tuesday to allay the apprehensions of opposition parties.

Sunday’s exit polls differed on the likely outcome in UP, with some showing that irrespective of the national outcome, the SP-BSP alliance could overtake BJP in the state.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also asked their party workers to keep a watch on EVMs and not to pay heed to exit poll results which have predicted a clear majority to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary, who is contesting from Baghpat, also took a pot shot at the casual transportation of EVMs. “Looking at the ridiculously casual transportation of EVMs throughout the country, it could feature as a briefcase accessory for some designers’ fall 2019 collection!” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said those attempting to foment trouble would be sternly dealt with.

The people’s verdict, whatever it might be, would be respected, he said.

Attacking the opposition parties, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “Struggling without power, the opposition is venting its frustration at the EVMs.”

The BJP leaders are also re-tweeting party chief Amit Shah’s questions to the opposition over EVMs even as party general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal instructed the cadre about dos and don’ts on the counting day.

Bansal along with party vice-president JPS Rathore told counting booth chiefs that this time EVM votes should be counted along with postal ballot.

In five booths of each assembly segment, VVPAT slips would also be counted, they said.

Union minister Smriti Irani decided to spend counting day eve in Amethi from where she is in the fray against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Across the state, leaders and workers of opposition parties have been guarding the EVMs round-the-clock outside strongrooms.

First Published:
May 23, 2019 05:09 IST

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