UP panchayat polls: Election official booked for declaring wrong candidates as winners

Violence erupted in Gorakhpur district after supporters of some zila panchayat members burnt a police post in protest against the fraudulent results.

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday filed a first information report against a government official who was on duty during the panchayat polls for allegedly giving winning certificates to candidates who lost the election, reported PTI.

Additional returning officer Virendra Kumar has been booked for cheating, forgery and fraud on a complaint filed by Returning Officer Sunil Kumar, a senior police official told the news agency.

Violence erupted in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, after supporters of some zila panchayat members alleged the returning officer had fraudulently declared other candidates the winner.

After the counting of votes, Ravi Nishad, a candidate of panchayat ward number 60, and Kodai Nishad of ward number 61, claimed they had won the election with over 2,000 votes. But the election official, Kumar, did not give them a winning certificate. Instead, he gave it to one Gopal Yadav for ward number 60 and one Ramesh for ward number 61.

Angered by this, the supporters of Ravi Nishad and Kodai Nishad held a demonstration at the Nai Bazar crossing in Gorakhpur. The protestors pelted stones and set ablaze a police post. The police have arrested 18 people and lodged four separate FIRs in connection with vandalism and arson.

Following the violence, District Magistrate Vijyendra Pandiyan ordered a booth-wide matching of votes and found that the government official had indeed falsely declared two wrong candidates as victorious.

“An FIR has been lodged against ARO Virendra Kumar, who is an executive engineer in the irrigation department,” Pandiyan said. “A letter recommending action against him would be sent to the State Election Commission.”

Over 8.69 lakh posts were up for grabs in the polls held in four phases ending on April 29. The elections were held for local body positions at the village level (gram panchayat), block level (kshetra panchayat) and district level (zila panchayat). While the elections were not held on party symbols, political outfits backed respective candidates and are claiming their victories on that basis.

Source: Scroll

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