Dear Election Commission, What The Hell is Happening in Chandauli?
From deletion of names of Muslim voters to booth capturing, a series of disturbing incidents have been happening in this U.P. district.
Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh has been in the news since the last few days for all the wrong reasons. The Lok Sabha constituency is polling during the final phase of the Lok Sabha constituency on May 19.
Violence over not attending Modi rally
On May 16, a Dalit youth named Vikas from Bisundhari village, who was on his way to a coaching class was stopped on the road by one Shor Singh and other Bharatiya Janata Party workers who forcefully tried to take the youth to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Dhanapura village in Chandauli. When Vikas refused, he was beaten up. When other members of the community decided to intervene, they were also thrashed. The alleged BJP workers thrashed both men and women. Vikas’ injuries were severe, and he had to be admitted to the Benaras trauma centre.
Money distribution at Modi rally
On the very same day, two videos surfaced that showed alleged BJP workers distributing money after the same Modi rally at Dhanapura. As per a Media Vigil report, there were rumours in the area that 50 SUV cars had travelled from Gujarat to Varanasi carrying packets with unknown contents. Media Vigil also cited sources to report that village heads in Purvanchal had received hefty sums of money from the saffron party.
On condition of anonymity, a BJP youth worker told Media Vigil, “Don’t you know at Modi and Amit Shah’s rally cash is sent over from the BJP headquarters? What’s the big deal in this?”
On the final day of polling, however, things in Chandauli have gotten murkier still. Many voters in the district have been unable to exercise their democratic rights thanks to alleged voter intimidation by the ruling BJP.
Residents of a Dalit basti in Tara Jivanpur village told reporters that the former pradhan of the village had distributed Rs 500 to each person in the community and told them not to cast their vote. They even said that a group of men from their village, allegedly BJP workers, forcibly applied ink on their fingers to keep them from voting. “When we asked why should we not go to vote, they forcibly applied ink on our fingers and said “if anyone asks, tell them you’ve voted,” one resident told reporters.
Chanduali: Voters alleged thay they were given 500 rupees and ink was applied on their fingers by BJP and they were told not to go for voting. Incident reported from Tarajiwanpur Dalit Basti under Alinagar police station in Chandauli. @ECISVEEP @news18dotcom @CNNnews18 pic.twitter.com/gIeWri80WO
— Qazi Faraz Ahmad (@qazifarazahmad) May 18, 2019
Deleted Muslim names
Voter suppression did not, however, end there. As per reports, the Samajwadi Party plans to approach the Election Commission over alleged deletion of names of Muslim voters in Chandauli. Names of several Muslim voters were reportedly deleted at booth number 334, 335, 336 in Mughalsarai as well.
Violent Clashes between BJP and SP
And amidst all of this, clashes allegedly broke out between members of SP and BJP at Paharpur in Chandauli, over who would vote first. As per a report in Live Hindustan, workers from both parties started squabbling over the hanging of their party flags at the polling booth. Police had to use light force to remove workers from both parties, in which three people were injured.
#Watch Clashes were reported between Samajwadi Party and BJP supporters over voting first in Chandauli's Parahupur polling booth. #ViralVideo #BJP @MediaCellSP @BJP4UP #LokSabhaElections2019 #Phase7 #ElectionWithMolitics #IndiaElections2019 pic.twitter.com/hxOzZsxsSf
— Molitics (@moliticsindia) May 19, 2019
As reported by Bahujan4India, in Mugalsarai, the BJP has allegedly been involved in “booth-capturing”. According to the tweet and the video, BJP youth leaders Akash Pandey and Pawan Singh have allegedly been trying to prevent voters from voting for the SP-BSP alliance.
मुग़लसराय: हार रहे हैं तो बूथ कैप्चरिंग पर उतर आए बीजेपी वाले, बीजेपी छात्र नेता पवन सिंह और आकाश पांडे वोटरों को गठबंधन के पछ में वोट डालने के लिए रोका!@ECISVEEP अब तो जाग जाएं?? pic.twitter.com/kjUulY90IQ
— Bahujan4India (@Bahujan4India) May 19, 2019
With all this going on, one has to ask, what in the world is wrong with Chandauli?