Amid Polling Booth Confusion, Baghpat Registers Overwhelming Voter Participation
The election fever has officially gripped the state of Uttar Pradesh as 58 constituencies went to poll on Thursday.
Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh: The election fever has officially gripped the state of Uttar Pradesh as 58 constituencies went to poll on Thursday. On one hand the anti-incumbency wave has gripped the defending political group, Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other, the state continues to demand for basic requirements to see the light of development.
Assembly constituency of Baghpat, approximately 35 kilometres ahead of Delhi-Ghaziabad border, has not seen any transformational changes in the last five years. As of February 10th evening, around 60 percent of the population have cast their vote under the first phase of state elections. According to poll observers in Baghpat, the constituency has seen a record number of people coming to cast their votes this year.
While visiting the Baghpat constituency, also known as the Land of Sugarcane, local residents said that the city has no industries or other job prospects other than sugarcane farming or vegetable cultivation. On Thursday evening, keeping the challenges of the city in mind, voters stepped outside to turn up to their allocated polling booth, which in itself proved to be a major hurdle.
Speaking to the Hans India, Farooq Mohammed, son in law of late Nawab Kaukab Hameed Khan, a former state minister and RLD leader, said that the local residents have been allocated polling booth far away from home which may be a deterrent factor for some to participate in the electoral process.
"Since morning we have seen that people from the same family in Baghpat have been allocated different polling booths. While some have been given a polling booth near the house, others have been allocated some 8kms to 12kms away to a far-off rural corner of Baghpat. Although determined to vote this year, this polling confusion was completely avoidable," Farooq said to Hans India.
He also said that such a measure could be discouraging to female voters who can find it difficult to reach polling booths, especially young mothers.
Nawab Kaukab Hameed Khan's son Nawab Ahmad Hameed, the Baghpat candidate of RLD-Samajwadi Party alliance, wrote a letter to the Election Commission on the matter in the morning of the election.
Calling for an inquiry into the matter, Ahmad has said in his letter, "To bring this to your notice, (U.P) constituency 52 (Baghpat), around 10,000 eligible applicants' names from one area is being reflected in another area's voter list. Which is away from their registered location."
Speaking to volunteers of booth number 31 and 32 in Baghpat constituency, the polling booth helpers confirmed this confusion and said that atleast 80 people at the specific booths have complained of the confusion. It also came to the notice that some of the eligible voters, who continue to reside at Baghpat location for years, have their eligibility listed as "deleted" on the voter list.
While many residents complained that the constituency has not seen any development under C.M Yogi Adityanath tenure, others said no government has done anything substantial for the city prior to the BJP government either.
"There are no industries here, no jobs. The condition of government hospitals is such that cases are often referred to Meerut which is 50 kilometres away from here. There is only one private college in the entire constituency. We have grown up selling fruits and our entire life has been spent on doing the same," Irshad narrated the ordeal of the local area of Shaukat market in Baghpat.
Sharing similar sentiments, retired Civil Engineer Ajay Saxena said that the city of Baghpat is waiting for a change to occur to lift the area out of the cycle of low income. He said that while the area has never witnessed any communal disharmony, the city is in desperate need of attention for suitable job prospects for every low-income group.
Social activist Saif Alvi told the Hans India, that while Muzaffarnagar riots did not build up any communal tension in Baghpat, it did divide the voter share of 36 residing communities, majority of whom comprises of Jaat and Muhammadan.
"The current BJP government has deeply hurt the sentiments of the farmers. Not just because of the three farm laws but also because of sugarcane overdues. Nothing much has been done for any sect here in Baghpat. So, which is why we are supporting the RLD-S.P alliance," Alvi said.