Lucknow/Rampur, Jun 24: Azamgarh recorded a voter turnout of 49.43 per cent and Rampur 41.39 per cent in the bypolls to the Lok Sabha constituencies, sources in the office of UP’s Chief Electoral Officer said on Friday.
Rampur, which fell vacant following resignation of senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, had witnessed 63.19 per cent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Azamgarh, which was earlier represented by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, saw a voter turnout of 57.56 per cent in the last Lok Sabha elections.
The polling in the bastions of the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) was held on Thursday.
“The polling percentage in Azamgarh was approximately 49.43 per cent while in Rampur, it was approximately 41.39 per cent,” the sources said.
Over 35 lakh people were eligible to vote in the bypolls in these two constituencies to decide the fate of 19 candidates.
Azam Khan on Thursday had alleged that the UP Police “wreaked havoc” on the eve of the Lok Sabha byelections in Azamgarh and Rampur.
He claimed “stick-wielding police personnel terrorised and humiliated voters and stopped them from going to the polling booths on Thursday”.
“I am a criminal, I accept… So my city has also been presumed to be the same. They can do whatever they want with the city and its people, we have to endure. If I want to stay, I have to endure,” Khan had said.
Rampur’s Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Shukla rejected the allegations on Thursday.
“We have taken cognisance of the allegations levelled by him. I and the district magistrate Ravendra Kumar Mander are inspecting every polling station. No women or any other voter in the entire constituency was stopped by police,” he said.
In a tweet in Hindi on Friday, Azam’s son Abdullah Azam cited newspaper reports, and said, “If the Election Commission does not take action even after these comments of the newspapers, then (one should) understand that democracy is on the verge of being over. These photographs and newspaper comments are telling everything clearly.”
The Samajwadi Party had also alleged irregularities in both constituencies.
“Police are harassing SP workers at the behest of the ruling party in Tanda and Daryal areas of Swar assembly seat in Rampur. The Election Commission should take note. Action should be taken against the guilty policemen. Ensure fair voting,” the party said.
It attached a letter written to the poll panel with this complaint. The party alleged that people were prevented from casting votes at a booth in Tanda and the polling was stopped.
It also claimed that its agents were driven out of several polling booths in Azamgarh “as part of a conspiracy at the behest of the BJP”.
According to the Election Commission, two general and two expense observers were deputed by it to keep an eye on the polls. Also, 291 sector magistrates, 40 zonal magistrates and 433 micro-observers were in the field. Central forces are in charge of keeping the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and strongrooms secure.
According to the EC, 13 candidates are in the fray in Azamgarh, where 18.38 lakh people were eligible to vote. Six candidates are contesting from Rampur, which has 17.06 lakh registered voters.
In Rampur, the BJP fielded Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who recently joined the party. Asim Raja, handpicked by Azam Khan is the SP candidate. The Mayawati-led BSP is not contesting from Rampur.
The Azamgarh seat is seeing a triangular contest among BJP’s Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirhua’, a Bhojpuri actor-singer, SP’s Dharmendra Yadav and BSP’s Shah Alam, also known as Guddu Jamali.
Of the 18.38 lakh voters in Azamgarh, 9,70,249 are men, 8,67,942 women and 36 belong to the third gender category.
Officials said 2,176 booths were set up at 1,149 polling stations of the constituency, where an estimated 15 per cent of the population is Muslims.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Azam Khan bagged 5,59,177 votes. BJP candidate Jaya Prada got 4,49,180 votes and Congress candidate Sanjay Kapoor lost his deposit in Rampur.
All five assembly segments–Azamgarh, Mubarakpur, Sagdi, Gopalpur and Mehnagar–falling in Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency were won by the SP in the recent state elections.
In Azamgarh, during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there was an alliance between the SP and the BSP, and Akhilesh Yadav won easily, getting 6.21 lakh votes against BJP’s Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirhua’, who got 3.61 lakh votes. (PTI)