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Allegations of poll booth rigging flood Lok Sabha elections in Rahul Gandhi's Amethi

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 - 6:30pm IST | Place: Mumbai
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The Lok Sabha elections that commenced in India on April 7 2014 has seen many allegations and slurs between political parties going strong with each phase.

With the eight phase in progress and some of the biggest leaders in fray, allegations of booth capturing, threatening and assault have surfaced in Amethi.

Amethi—the home turf of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi has seen two other rival parties fielding candidates and taking campaigning to the next level.

While BJP's Smriti Irani made a stellar debut by challenging Gandhi, the newly formed party Aam Aadmi Party fielded poet Kumar Vishwas to contest from the seat. Instances of violence, black flags being shown and attacks started when a tussle broke out between AAP and BJP candidates outside BJP headquarters.

The second instance was when AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal reached Gujarat to meet BJP's prime ministerial candidate but was greeted with black flags and a small case of stone-pekting was reported too. Though the seven phases of elections have turned out peacefully with deployment of police and military personnel and Election Commission's model code of conduct in practice forbidding candidates from indulging in malpractices.

Instances of corruption surfaced in Amethi when AAP candidate Kumar Vishwas alleged that his party was being forced out of the constituency while Congress was receiving biased treatment. He even sent out a series of tweets on the same issue.

Finally, Amethi police had to arrest him on charges of inciting violation of section 144 after dozens of policemen assembled outside his house to listen to poems. While Vishwas cited that he had not invited anyone, EC stated that the assembly was unlawful and Amethi was under section 144 which prevents campaign activities to allow free and fair elections.

Read: Poll 'technicalities' force BJP to cut down on Narendra Modi posters

Smriti Irani accused Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's PA for being in Amethi around polling booths trying to influence voters. Irani claimed spotting Preeti Sahay, Gandhi's PA talking to some voters before they went inside the polling booth at Thauri polling booth in Amethi. Irani whot got into an arguement with Sahay, asked her to leave the polling booth and said that she would file a complaint with the election commission pertaining to the matter.

Below are some of the tweets and allegations by Smriti Irani: 

Clarifying charges on Kumar Vishwas, District Magistrate of Amethi had said, “It was indeed an unlawful assembly as section 144 is currently applicable to Amethi. And considering poem recitation of Mr Vishwas, armed policemen could have gone mad in a few minutes. “They are calling it violation of sec 144 because policemen were in civil dress, it’s a big conspiracy,” Vishwas said in his defense, “Those policemen were agents of Rahul Gandhi.”

Congress leaders in Amethi alleged that Vishwas not only incited violation of section 144, but he also violated model code of conduct.

The complaints of poll rigging pertained to booth numbers 42, 26, 108, 110, 111 and 117 in the constituency of Amethi.

Read: The controversy around #144inAmethi on Twitter

 AAP's candidate Kumar Vishwas had even lodged a complaint with the Election Commission that several booths in Amethi in UP have been captured, but the poll panel found the charge to be unfounded after verification and said voting there was progressing peacefully. Besides this, even BJP's Smriti Irani targetted Congress of resorting to malpractices at polling booths.

Smriti Irani accused Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's PA for being in Amethi around polling booths trying to influence voters. Irani claimed spotting Preeti Sahay, Gandhi's PA talking to some voters before they went inside the polling booth at Thauri polling booth in Amethi.

Irani whot got into an arguement with Sahay, asked her to leave the polling booth and said that she would file a complaint with the election commission pertaining to the matter.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today objected to a lotus sketch on a blackboard in a polling centre in the constituency and said he would draw the attention of the Election Commission towards it. Gandhi, who for the first time visited his constituency on polling day ever since he has represented the seat since 2004, took a round of booths in the area.

While visiting one such polling station in Phulwa village in Tiloi, the Congress Amethi candidate observed a lotus drawn on the blackboard and said he would complain to the EC against it. However, Tiloi SDM A K Singh said they are yet to receive any complaint on the matter.

The Commission had directed the authorities to cover all the election symbols which could be displayed for various reasons in schools.

AAP also alleged that the Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi is moving in Amethi in a cavalcade which is against the model code of conduct. However, the officials and the Congress have responded saying Rahul gandhi is visiting some polling booths just in one car, and other cars are just carrying the security and escort personnel to which he is entitled to as per norms.

Besides UP, complains of rigging have come from some places of West Bengal also where 6 constituencies are going to polls. Opposition parties have complained of intimidation and vote rigging by workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, where polling was unusually high even by national standards. 

With inputs from Samiya Latief—dna i am in 




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