Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) [India], December 5 (ANI): As voting began for the high-octane Mainpuri Lok Sabha bypolls on Monday morning, Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders thronged to cast their votes claiming that the party candidate Dimple Yadav will win with "three times more votes" than what Mulayam Singh Yadav garnered.
SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav cast his vote in Etawah's Saifai. "Dimple Yadav (party's candidate for the by-election) will win with three times more votes than what Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) used to get," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav will also cast their votes later in the day in Saifai.
Voting for the by-elections for the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh and six assembly seats in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh began today at 7 am.
Ram Gopal Yadav further alleged that the BJP "goons" had come to the powerhouse of Mainpuri and pushed the SP's agents.
"In Mainpuri, they weren't allowing agents at booths 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146. We spoke to Returning Officer, I'll find out if it was later allowed. Similarly, BJP goons came to a powerhouse of Mainpuri in an inebriated state & pushed our agent out. The police and administration are of no help," Yadav alleged.
"Police-admin are manipulating. EC had directed that deployment for election duties be randomised. But when polling parties arrived, around 2000 of the staff were stopped and held back as reserves as they had Yadav surname. They forget that not only Yadavs but everyone votes for SP," Yadav further alleged.
"They don't even allow the casting of votes in Rampur. The beating up of people started yesterday. SSP there is the one who was removed from Firozabad on my complaint during polls. This SSP was there the last time too & even now. There is nobody to listen but the public is supreme," the SP leader alleged.
Samajwadi Party patron Late Mulayam Singh Yadav's brother Abhay Ram Yadav cast his vote at Abhinav Vidyalaya in Saifai, Etawah and said that there is no competition with any political party.
"SP is going to win by a huge margin. There is no competition with any other political party," he said.
Polling in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency was mandated following the demise of the sitting MP and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav. The party has fielded his daughter-in-law and wife of Akhilesh Yadav, Dimple Yadav. She is pitted against BJP's former MP Raghuraj Singh Shakya.
Earlier, Azam Khan, who was disqualified from the UP Assembly following his conviction in a hate speech case, because of which Rampur Assembly seat is going to by-polls today, claimed that the people are being arrested and beaten up and told not to step out of their homes to cast their votes.
"Barbarism being done & people being arrested, beaten up. Police are going to colonies & telling people not to step out to vote. People in one colony locked up their houses and migrated in fear. They are saying it everywhere to not cast votes," he said while speaking to ANI.
Meanwhile, assembly seats in Rampur Sadar and Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, Padampur in Odisha, Sardarshahar in Rajasthan, Kurhani in Bihar, and Bhanupratappur in Chhattisgarh are in for a by-election race.
In Chhattisgarh, Congress candidate for Bhanupratappur constituency, Savitri Mandavi casts her vote for assembly bypolls.
An anticipated direct contest between Congress and BJP is expected at the Bhanupratappur seat after Congress MLA Manoj Singh Mandavi passed away last month. The Congress has fielded Savitri Mandavi, the wife of the deceased MLA in a bid to retain the seat while BJP has fielded a former MLA. The seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
She said, "Atmosphere is in favour of Congress because our Government has set standards of development. Looking at those works, people are voting for us".
The counting of votes will take place on December 8.
In other states, the Padampur bypoll of Odisha was also necessitated following the demise of sitting BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha on October 3. BJP fielded Pradip Purohit who is the State BJP Krushak Morcha president was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly from Padampur in the 2014 election, however, Purohit lost the 2009 election.
Rajasthan's Sardarshahar seat goes to polls following the death of Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma after a prolonged illness. His seat will be contested by his son Anil Kumar while BJP has fielded former MLA Ashok Kumar there.
In Bihar's Kurhani, the disqualification of RJD MLA Anil Kumar Sahani has prompted the polls.
The voting for high voltage by-elections will continue till 6 pm. (ANI)