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Cross voting mars RS polling in UP

Written by: Staff

Lucknow, Mar 28 (UNI) Cross-voting and use of muscle and money power today marred the polling for the crucial biennial elections to 10 Rajya Sabha and 13 state Legislative Council seats in Uttar Pradesh.

At least 15 MLAs -- nine of the BJP, five of the ruling Samajwadi Party and one of Congress -- cross-voted against their party whip according to agents manning the election centre.

BSP, however, was the main gainer with most of the MLAs, who crossed-voted, giving vote to their candidates.

Returning officer and principal secretary (assembly) R P Pandey said here the polling was peaceful and altogether except for one -- Viresh Kumar Yadav of SP -- all 402 MLAs cast their votes.

Counting of votes, would be taken up from 1700 hrs.

Earlier, during voting some confusion prevailed when BJP member Sandeep Agarwal cast his vote in favour of SP candidate and the BJP leaders challenged him.

Some opposition members also charged the ruling SP with terrorising the MLAs for getting support.

Senior BJP leader and candidate for the RS poll, Kalraj Mishra while admitting cross-voting in his party, said three alloted votes for him was cast for the BSP candidate and similarly, five BJP MLAs, who were to support another BJP candidate Vinay Katiyar, switched their support.

''BJP will certainly take action against the erring MLAs and move disqualification petition against them,'' Mr Mishra added.

Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari also maintained that cross-voting was the highlight of the RS polls and charged the ruling party for using force to gain support for their candidates.

Meanwhile, some confusion prevailed in the polling hall with the opposition candidates accusing the ruling SP for mismanagement.

Independent candidate for the RS, Sudhanshu Mittal, said he would complain about it to the Election Commission and demand countermand of the polls.

All eyes are set on 37 rebel BSP MLAs, who had been recognised as a separate group in UP assembly by the Supreme Court recently, and the 16 independent legislators who hold the key to the polls.

EC had appointed three observers -- UP Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Vishnoi, PWD principal secretary S K Agarwal and LDA vice-chairman B B Singh -- to oversee polling and counting process.

There was no complaint of cross-voting in the Legislative Council polls as it was secret polling.

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