Lucknow, May 10 (PTI): Amidst allegations by the Samajwadi Party that police were preventing voters from casting votes in some booths, the Suar seat recorded over 33 per cent polling while Chhanbey recorded 32.64 per cent till 3 pm for the assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.
Voting started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
In a tweet on its official Twitter handle, the SP charged, “In Khempur, Rasoolpur, Faridpur, Samodia in the Suar seat of Rampur, police are preventing voters from voting. Voters are returned from polling booths. Election Commission should take cognisance and ensure fair elections”.
In a separate tweet, it alleged that Cabinet minister Ashish Patel (of Apna Dal-S) was calling SP workers and threatening them to affect polls.
Officials, however, denied any discrepancies and said free and fair polls are being ensured in the state.
There is a direct contest between the ruling coalition and the opposition Samajwadi Party in the bypolls.
A total of 774 polling booths have been set up by the Election Commission at 492 polling centres in the two constituencies, while there are 6.62 lakh eligible voters.
A total of 14 candidates are in the fray with six in Suar and eight in Chhanbey.
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has kept away from the polls, while the Congress has fielded its candidate only in Chhanbey.
The Suar seat in Rampur district is in focus as it was held by Abdullah Azam Khan, the son of senior SP leader Azam Khan, before it was declared vacant on February 13 after a Moradabad court sentenced him to two years in jail in a 15-year-old case.
In the previous assembly also, the Allahabad High Court had in 2020 set aside his election for not declaring his correct age in the affidavit.
In the 2022 UP Assembly election, Abdullah Azam Khan had defeated Apna Dal (Sonelal)’s Haidar Ali Khan on the Suar seat by a margin of over 61,000 votes.
This time, the Samajwadi Party has fielded Anuradha Chauhan from the seat and Apna Dal (Sonelal) has named Shafeek Ahmed Ansari.
The Chhanbey seat in Mirzapur fell vacant following the death of Apna Dal (Sonelal) MLA Rahul Prakash Kol in February. The party has fielded Kol’s wife Rinki Kol while Kirti Kol is contesting as the Samajwadi Party candidate. Eight candidates are in the fray for this seat.
The counting of votes will take place on May 13.
In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly, the ruling BJP has 255 MLAs, and its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the NISHAD Party have 11 and six legislators, respectively.
The SP has 109 MLAs while its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal has nine. The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has six MLAs, the Congress and the Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) have two each and the Bahujan Samaj Party has one member in the assembly.