Lucknow, April 7: A low voter turnout in the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections today left Mulayam Singh Yadav fuming at the Election Commission.
The chief minister blamed its “unusual security arrangements” for keeping voters indoors. “There are just too many securitymen around the booth. Look at the arrangements in Saifai. The security is unprecedented and it is not inspiring voters... to cast their votes,” he told reporters.
At Saifai, his ancestral village, Mulayam voted along with his family around 11.30 am. “I fear that only the poll agents will be left to cast votes.”
A.K. Bishnoi, the state chief election officer, said till 3 pm, polling was restricted to 30.2 per cent. By closing time, it was 46.5 per cent. “However, we are yet to compile the final figures,” Bishnoi said.
The ruling Samajwadi Party leaders are a worried lot in Etawah. They fear the dismal turnout may mean that rural and semi-urban voters — their vote bank — did not come out for fear of security personnel.
“Our voters hail from poor families. They are feeling intimidated,” said Shivpal Singh Yadav, Mulayam’s brother and state PWD minister who is contesting from Jaswantnagar.