‘Murder of democracy’: SP urges constitutional institutions for inquiry, alleges govt exceeded ‘all limits’ during Rampur bypoll

Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party on Wednesday appealed to the constitutional institutions of the country, including the Election Commission of India, to conduct an inquiry into the “murder of democracy” by the administration during the Rampur Sadar assembly by-election. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief whip in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Manoj Pandey alleged that the government crossed “all limits” during Monday’s bypolls.

Pandey said during a press conference at the party headquarters here that the way voters of a particular religion and class were prevented from voting with the help of police, it amounts to murder of democracy. “We appeal to all constitutional institutions including the Election Commission (of India) to suo motu investigate the excesses (of power) during the Rampur by-election as this is not a matter of an individual but of protecting democracy.” ,

The purported videos of alleged police excesses in Rampur Sadar were also played by Pandey. The right to vote is the biggest right in a democracy and the government has taken it away. He said that those demanding fair elections in Rampur Sadar were badly beaten with sticks. Asked whether the SP would take the issue to court, Pandey said, “We still have faith in the Election Commission (of India) to investigate all these facts and take necessary action.”

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The bypoll in Rampur Sadar was necessitated by the disqualification of Azam Khan as MLA after his conviction in a hate speech case last month. Voting remained slow in Rampur Sadar with around 33.94 per cent polling recorded till 6 pm.

In comparison, during the Lok Sabha bypolls in June, the voter turnout in the region was 41 per cent, while 56.35 per cent was recorded during the 2022 assembly polls earlier this year.

On Monday, the party’s state unit chief Naresh Uttam Patel, spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, Pandey and other leaders met Chief Electoral Officer Ajay Kumar Shukla in Lucknow and submitted a memorandum accusing the administration and police of rigging in the three by-elections.

In the memorandum, the SP accused the administration of preventing people from casting their votes. The SP, on its official Twitter handle, also alleged that officials on election duty were preventing people from casting their votes, especially in Rampur Sadar. Bypolls were also held for Mainpuri parliamentary constituency and Khatauli assembly constituency on Monday.

On the low turnout in Rampur Sadar, which has a Muslim population, Azam Khan’s family members alleged that the police threatened, harassed and prevented people from voting. The state government has denied these allegations.

Pandey also questioned the end of the winter session of the Vidhan Sabha after two days instead of three days, saying that the government does not want to discuss important issues related to the public. Hence, as part of a conspiracy, the session was reduced to two days, he said.