Several people were injured and a police outpost torched in post-panchayat poll violence at a few places in Uttar Pradesh. Clashes occurred in Gorakhpur, Sitapur, Barabanki and other places after the counting was over on May 5.
According to reports a police outpost and a vehicle of Provincial Armed Constabulary were set ablaze and group clashes took place at Brahmapur block in Gorakhpur district after supporters of candidates in two wards alleged that the administration was helping the candidates enjoying the backing of a particular party. Policemen were also held hostage here.
Cases have been lodged against many people and some of them were even arrested.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had represented Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency several times, and the district was till recently considered as his stronghold.
In Barabanki district even bombs were used in a pitch battle between supporters of rival groups. Several persons were injured and a few of them were arrested. In Sitapur district at least five persons were injured in similar incidents.
Meanwhile, independent sources claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s performance in the recently held rural bodies polls in UP was much below expectation.
Though these elections in the state are not fought on the party line, yet various parties lend support to the candidates. Reports from different news sources said that the saffron party-backed candidates had to face defeat in many districts, especially in its bastion of Ayodhya, Banaras, Prayagraj, Gorakhpur and Mathura.
The four-phase rural bodies’ poll in UP was held in the second half of April amidst protest by various teachers’ associations that hundreds of teachers lost their lives while conducting the election during the height of the second wave of corona virus. They had even threatened to boycott the counting on the plea that more than 700 of them had died due to the pandemic.
Uttar Pradesh had witnessed a huge surge in COVID-19 related deaths after the Maha Kumbh Mela at Haridwar in neighbouring Uttarakhand. Even chief minister Yogi Adityanath suffered from corona virus.
On May 5, the Allahabad High Court had equated the deaths due to mismanagement and oxygen shortage in UP to genocide and termed it as a criminal act.