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Were Dalits barred from voting in Uttar Pradesh?

By Anuj Cariappa
|

New Delhi, Apr 11: The election office here dismissed as "rumour" the allegations levelled by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) that some Dalit voters were prevented from casting ballots in a booth in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnor Lok Sabha constituency.

We’re Dalits barred from voting in Uttar Pradesh?

The BSP has alleged that they had received reports of Dalits being prevented from reaching polling booths in "various" places in the state.

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Eight Lok Sabha seats in western Uttar Pradesh went to polls on Thursday. In total, polling was held in 91 seats in 18 states and two Union Territories.

"These (reports) are only rumours," state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) L Venkateshwarlu told PTI.

"We have spoken to all DMs (district magistrates) in this regard. Nothing of this type of incident has taken place. These are only rumours, as they are not mentioning any specific polling booth," he said.

BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra has alleged that the party had received information that people, especially Dalits, were being prevented from exercising their franchise.

"We are receiving information from various polling stations that BSP voters, especially Dalits, are being stopped from reaching polling booths by use of force by the UP Police which is even going to the extent of using force of baton so that they may not be able to cast their votes," he claimed.

The BSP leader said that all this is apparently being done under the "diktats of higher-ups".

"Immediate intervention is required on this, otherwise no purpose of elections and advertisements of CEC to vote," Misra said.

He has mentioned Kasauli booth in Bijnor's Mirapur assembly segment.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted that it is a fundamental right of every person to vote and a crime to prevent Dalits from exercising their franchise.

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"To stop anyone from voting is sin. Only voting can remove differences in society," Yadav said.

"Now, BJP people are openly saying that the country is not of everyone and creating hatred among people," he alleged.

On another allegation by the BSP that a voter had complained that votes were going to the BJP whichever button was pressed on an EVM, additional CEO B R Tiwari said, "A report was sought in the matter and it was found to be far from truth and is baseless."

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