Workers and activists of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and farmers' outfit Bharatiya Kisan Union have pitched tents near election offices in various districts of western Uttar Pradesh to keep an eye on assembly polls' vote counting on Thursday.
While the RLD has fought the just-concluded polls in tie up with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party, the office-bearers of the BKU, which was part of the anti-farm laws protest against the BJP-led Centre, insists it is an “apolitical” group.
Voting in 113 assembly seats across 20 districts of western UP had taken place on February 10 and 14.
“Several RLD workers across districts in western Uttar Pradesh have been camping near centres where the counting of votes will take place on Thursday. Some have been there for last two-three days in view of reports of EVM mishandling in other parts of the state,” an RLD worker in Baghpat told PTI.
Similarly, BKU members and activists in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat, among other places, are also keeping an eye on poll centres where the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are kept, the union's spokesperson Dharmendra Malik said.
BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait had also given a call to farmers to secure the EVMs on the voting day, the union's spokesperson Saurabh Upadhyay said
“Apart from guarding the country's border and agriculture, farmers should also be ready to guard the vote. There is no trust in deceitful leaders,” Tikait had tweeted in Hindi on March 5.
Earlier on Tuesday, SP candidate from Hastinapur Yogesh Verma was seen looking at an EVM strongroom through binoculars as he stood atop his open gypsy car.
The visuals of Verma's acts went viral on social media, while later in the day, the SP chief accused the BJP of “stealing” EVMs in the wake of reports that the voting machines were being transported in various districts, including Varanasi, against rules.
According to Uttar Pradesh Police, a total of 250 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have been provided to all the districts of the state for March 10 duty.
According to officials, a CAPF company usually has an operational strength of around 70-80 personnel.
“Out of these, 36 companies have been earmarked for EVM security and 214 companies for counting and law and order duty. Besides the CAPFs, 61 companies of PAC have also been provided to all districts,” police said.
“Along with these, 625 gazetted officers of UP Police, 1,807 inspectors, 9,598 sub-inspectors, 11,627 head constables and 48,649 constables have also been put on duty,” it added