The Election Commission of India on Monday said allegations of booth capturing in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi constituency were false, News18 reported. Amethi went to polls on Monday along with 50 other constituencies in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
The poll commission was responding to Union minister Smriti Irani’s accusation that Congress workers had captured booths. Irani also shared a video of an elderly woman at a booth in Gujar Tola area of Gauriganj, who claimed to have been forced to vote for the Congress. The minister alerted the Election Commission’s Twitter account, blaming Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his party workers’ alleged actions. Irani, who is the BJP candidate from the seat, had lost to the Congress president by more than 1 lakh votes in 2014.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Lakku Venkateshwarlu said the charges levelled by the elderly woman in the video were baseless. “Following the complaint, the sector officer, senior officials and even observers rushed to the booth and spoke to the polling agents of the political parties, other officials in the polling booth following which it was conclusively found that the charges in the video clip were fabricated,” Venkateshwarlu added. “Due to prima facie allegations in the clip, the presiding officer was summarily removed while the probe was going on.”
The woman in the video alleged that the presiding officer had forcibly pressed her finger on the Congress symbol on the electronic voting machine, The Tribune reported. The Congress dismissed Irani’s allegations, saying she was “looking for excuses” to justify her imminent defeat.