8 UP Lok Sabha Seats See 58% Turnout in Phase 1 of Polls; State EC Seeks Reports on SP’s Charge of EVM Error, Booth Capturing in Some Areas

In the eight western Uttar Pradesh seats where polling for the first round of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections was held on Friday, approximately 58% of voters cast ballots. Based on data from the Election Commission, voting was reported in Saharanpur at 63.29 percent, Moradabad at 57.83 percent, Kairana at 60.39 percent, Nagina at 59.17 percent, Pilibhit at 60.23 percent, Bijnor at 54.68 percent, Rampur at 52.42 percent, and Muzaffarnagar at 54.91 percent.

The Bharatiya Janata Party was accused by the Samajwadi Party of seizing booths in Muzaffarnagar and Kairana and of malfunctioning EVMs. In all eight constituencies, polling was generally conducted in a calm manner.

“In all eight Lok Sabha Seats of west Uttar Pradesh, an average voter turnout of 57.54 percent (until 5pm) was recorded,” chief electoral officer of Uttar Pradesh, Navdeep Rinwa, stated at a news conference on Friday night.

Additionally, he stated that the Election Commission kept a 24-hour eye on polls. 14,849 polling places at 7,689 centers hosted voting.

Regarding the claims of EVM malfunctions and booth capturing, Rinwa stated that the state election commission has requested district reports. “In some cases where there were allegations that district administration is not allowing people to cast their votes, we ourselves checked the polling booth through the pre-installed CCTV cameras and found polling was going on smoothly,” he said.

Harendra Malik, a candidate for Muzaffarnagar SP, claimed that BJP operatives had taken over the booth in Sanjeev Baliyan’s hamlet, Kutbi Kutba, where the saffron party candidate was running. In an Instagram post, the SP mentioned the Election Commission and asserted that the BJP had taken control of polling places in Kairana and Muzaffarnagar.

According to officials, extensive security measures were put in place at the polling places, where 220 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and 60 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) had been deployed, along with 6,018 inspectors and sub-inspectors, 35,750 constables, and 24,992 home guard personnel.

Three of the eight seats in the 2019 general elections went to the BJP: Pilibhit, Kairana, and Muzaffarnagar. In Moradabad and Rampur, the Bahujan Samaj Party won, but Saharanpur, Bijnor, and Nagina went to the Samajwadi Party. Later, in a June 2022 by-election, the BJP defeated the SP for the Rampur seat.

The BJP has selected Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, the BSP has put forward Zeeshan Khan, while the SP has chosen Mohibullah Nadvi. Now, the BSP has chosen Irfan Saifi, the BJP has handed a ticket to Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar Singh, and the SP has fielded Ruchi Veera from Moradabad. The BJP has selected Pradeep Choudhary, the BSP has selected Shripal Rana, and the SP has fielded Iqra Hasan. Jitin Prasada of Pilibhit has been nominated by the BJP, Bhagwat Saran Gangwar by the SP, and Anis Ahmed Khan by the BSP. Here in Muzaffarnagar, the BSP has selected Dara Singh Prajapati, the BJP has put its trust back in Sanjeev Balyan, and the SP has fielded Harendra Singh Malik. In Saharanpur, the Congress has chosen Imran Masood, the BSP has selected Majid Ali, while the BJP has fielded Raghav Lakhanpal once more. Now, the BSP has selected Chaudhary Vijendra Singh, the RLD has fielded Chandan Chauhan, and the SP has handed a ticket to Deepak Saini in Bijnor. This time, Om Kumar is the BJP’s nominee from Nagina; Manoj Kumar is the SP’s nominee; and Surendra Raj Singh is the BSP’s candidate.

In the initial round of UP polling, 80 candidates—73 males and 7 women—were in the running. 1.43 crore persons, according to the Election Commission (EC), were eligible to vote in this phase. Of them, 824 were transgender people, 67.14 lakh were women, and 76.23 lakh were men.

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