Hours after Muzaffarnagar BJP candidate Sanjeev Balyan alleged 'fake voting' in his constituency, the Election Commission on Thursday refuted his claim, saying women officials verify everyone wearing a veil. Balyan, a former Union minister, has alleged that faces of burqa-clad women were not being verified by poll officials in his Lok Sabha constituency and fake votes were being cast.
Brahmdeo Ram Tiwari, Additional Chief Election Officer, said: "If a woman is in a veil, there are women officials who verify their identity, and only then they are allowed to vote." He added that no such incident had come to the Commission's notice. Balyan has said that he will demand a re-poll if his concerns are not addressed.
The BJP leader is seeking a re-election from the constituency. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh is also a contender from Muzaffarnagar, a communally sensitive seat in western Uttar Pradesh. The constituency gained notoriety in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. Muslims constitute the single biggest electorate in the constituency. The Dalit community has the second biggest chunk of voters. Jats, who dominate the landscape of western UP, are also influential in the constituency.
Voting for the first phase of general elections is underway for eight out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
(With inputs from agencies.)