India Politics
Election Commission praised for peaceful polls in Uttar Pradesh
May 9, 2007 - 5:19:02 PM

Lucknow, May 9 - Political parties in Uttar Pradesh, barring the Samajwadi Party, were all praise for the Election Commission for ensuring the 'first incident-free' polls in the state that concluded Tuesday.

Even though major parties including the Bahujan Samaj Party -, Bharatiya Janata Party - and the Congress had complaints against 'erroneous' voter lists and were critical about 'missing' names from the electoral rolls, they lauded the poll panel for an 'unprecedented accomplishment.'

Samajwadi Party leaders were, however, livid with anger. Party chief and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was vehemently critical of the commission for all the strictness under which the longest elections were carried out in seven phases over a month.

He even accused the poll panel of jeopardising the democratic process by creating an atmosphere of 'official terror'.

The chief minister squarely blamed the commission for the poor turnout of voters in many constituencies including his own - Bhartana - where polling percentage plummeted from 70-80 percent in the last assembly polls in 2002 to 40-50 percent this time.

His close lieutenant and state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan blamed the commission for 'obstructing free polling by common voters'.

Khan also flayed the panel for disallowing routine campaigning, which he termed as 'an essential part of the traditional electoral process.'

Another senior party leader and Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey felt 'people could not vote freely because of the undue and unnecessary enforcement in the name of security.'

On the contrary, BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Misra hailed the commission for 'setting an example before the nation that a constitutional body with the right people at its helm could make all the difference to an institution.'

Misra pointed out: 'I consider it as one of the rare elections in Uttar Pradesh when the lowest man in the rung could step out of his dwelling and vote without fear of the feudal lords or musclemen let loose by different parties.'

While state Congress chief Salman Khurshid was unwilling to condone election officials for not ensuring a foolproof voter list - of which he himself was a victim - he was all praise for the election commission's 'enforcement of the rule of law.'

'I was really angry when I found my name as well as of my wife missing from the voter list, but I am satisfied now that the commission took note of our complaints and has ordered re-poll in several such areas', he added.

BJP state chief Keshrinath Tripathi as well as party veteran Lalji Tandon also showered praise on the poll panel for ensuring 'a smooth and peaceful election.'

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