After the deadly Panchayat polls which were conducted during the second wave of the pandemic and ended in the deaths of over a thousand teachers who were involved in the state in the poll duties, BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh is gearing towards yet another election. This time it’s the block level polls and given the absolute disregard for COVID19 protocols as visible from the nomination day footage, not much has been learnt from the last such venture by the state.
On Thursday candidates gathered all across the state of Uttar Pradesh to file their nominations for the elections of 825 development block heads amidst widespread violence and complaints of suppression by non-BJP candidates in the hands of state police working in collusion with BJP members.
कन्नौज के छिबरामऊ में पुलिस और बीजेपी प्रत्याशी के समर्थकों की गुंडई!
सपा प्रत्याशी के हाथ से छीना नामांकन का पर्चा।
वीडियो में कैद हुई "लोकतंत्र की हत्या"
फिर भी कार्रवाई नहीं कर रहा प्रशासन।
— Samajwadi Party (@samajwadiparty) July 7, 2021
The nomination day ended in state police registering 16 FIRs against 115 named people and 1730 unidentified people. Out of those who were identified 25 people have been arrested according to ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar, Times of India reported. He reportedly said that overall 24 incidents of violence have been recorded in 22 districts in the state.
Representing complete lawlessness and putting a question mark on the claims of free and fair elections, the initial nominations for block-level elections in Uttar Pradesh saw violence including open-air firing, bombs, and molestation with women candidates. Visuals that have surfaced from dozens of districts in the state showing UP police in no position to intervene or control the situation.
Violence, firing during block pramukh nominations in UP's Sitapur district. pic.twitter.com/osm6KnDVyp
— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) July 8, 2021
Whether the security forces wanted to stop the mayhem is a different question altogether but as is clear from the lack of preparedness of the police to deal with any violent outbreak because of the politically volatile atmosphere in the state, that the police armed with batons stood no chance against hooligans with bombs and guns.
Samajwadi Party (SP) has accused the ruling BJP of employing state machinery to threaten and prevent the candidates supported by SP from filing the election nominations.
Ritu Singh an SP-backed candidate and her proposer Anita Devi were molested as they made their way to file the nomination in Lakhimpur Kheri. Apart from attacking the party worker, the men also allegedly snatched the candidate’s nomination papers. Later on, Singh registered an FIR against Brij Kishor and Yash Varma allegedly from BJP. Six policemen including the SHO of the concerned police station have been suspended following the incident.
The Samajwadi Party has announced that on July 15 it will hold protests at all tehsil headquarters across the state to protest the alleged irregularities in the elections to the posts of district and block panchayat chiefs.
The local elections in the state have got the interest of political parties which aim at garnering grassroots-level support that will set the tone for the 2022 Legislative Assembly elections in the state. As per the State Election Commission, on Friday out of 825 posts, a total of 349 were elected unopposed and elections will only be held for 476 posts on Saturday.