UP elections: ‘Sulking’ booth officers hurt party, says BJP

BJP leaders from various parts of Uttar Pradesh have alleged that names of many voters who could have voted for the party were found missing in the final list on voting day in many phases of polling.

Some hinted at an adverse role being played by government employees, including teachers, who were ap- pointed as booth level officers (BLOs) as they have been upset with the state government and were inclining towards the SP.

Multiple BJP leaders and representatives ET spoke with said reports were received from many booths in villages and elsewhere about the names of voters who were likely to support the BJP, missing in the final list.

While some could not ascribe it to any particular reason, a few said employees who wanted the government out of power, have intentionally removed a few names, or did not carry out the due process of revising the lists like taking forms for adding or deleting voter names in some ‘select’ localities, to harm the party, even as they expressed confidence the BJP would come back to power.

The chief electoral officer of UP, Ajay Shukla, however, denied such allegations and said no such complaints were received from the party. SP leaders said it was an “excuse” prepared by the party beforehand as it knows it was staring at defeat.

Government employees, including teachers, Anganwadi workers and others, have been protesting against the government to bring back the old pension scheme –– a demand that has been included in the SP’s manifesto.

Besides, shiksha mitras (contractual teachers) have another grouse –– they had been regularised and upgraded as assistant teachers under the SP government, causing their monthly pay to jump from less than Rs 5,000 to Rs 40,000 per month.

But a Supreme Court order in July 2017 had cancelled the appointments of 1.78 lakh such teachers deeming them illegal. After this they had to go back to being shiksha mitras, with their pay being slas- hed to Rs 10,000.

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Teacher associations say hundreds of teachers have committed suicide since then and even though it was a court order, they blame the BJP-led UP government for not fighting their cause.

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