Foul play, says SP, sacks 11 ‘colluding’ district chiefs; BJP claims 25 seats unopposed

The SP also removed 11 district presidents for purportedly “colluding” with BJP in “sabotaging” the party's chances, according to sources in SP.

A week before votes are cast for Zila Panchayat chiefs on July 3, followed by results the same day, the political heat is on in Uttar Pradesh. On Saturday, the Samajwadi Party claimed that its candidates in 11 districts were stopped from filing nomination papers with “the help of local administration and police”.

The SP also removed 11 district presidents for purportedly “colluding” with BJP in “sabotaging” the party’s chances, according to sources in SP. “At a later stage, the party will decide if they are to be given further punishment,” an SP leader said.

Late evening, SP said party chief Akhilesh Yadav has expelled Farrukhabad leader Sachin Yadav from the party for six years for involvement in “anti-party activities”.

“If anyone else is found to be involved in anti party activities, they will also be expelled from the party,” the party said in a statement.

The BJP, meanwhile, claimed that 25 candidates were set to win Zila Panchayat chief elections unopposed; the State Election Commission (SEC) announced that 18 districts received one nomination each. These elections are not contested on party symbols.

An SEC official said, “There is no way to ascertain if these 18 are backed by BJP. But our records till 8 pm show that there are 18 districts where one candidate has filed one nomination apiece. A total of 154 valid candidates have filed nominations in all 75 districts.”

BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said that as per their estimates, 25 of candidates would win the elections unopposed. “Till now, SEC is saying that 18 districts have one candidate each. But as per our calculations, that number will increase as many opposition candidates do not have valid papers. We will eventually win 25 seats without having an opposing candidate,” he said.

Accusing the ruling party of stopping its candidates, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted: “At Gorakhpur and other places, the way BJP has prevented SP candidates from filing nominations… It is the new administrative tactic of the BJP to win elections. The number of Zila Panchayat chiefs the BJP manages to get, the people won’t even give these many seats to them in the Vidhan Sabha polls.”

The state goes to Assembly polls next year.

SP spokesperson Juhie Singh said that the 11 district presidents would be given a chance to explain their version to Yadav. “Our candidates were prevented from filing nominations in 11 districts. They were put under house arrest while some were threatened with cases,” Singh alleged.

These districts include Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Agra, Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad.

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