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BJP candidates face black flags, stones, mud in west UP, FIR lodged

English NewsBJP candidates face black flags, stones, mud in west UP, FIR lodged

Over a dozen incidents of convoys of BJP contestants being shown black flags or having mud thrown at them have been reported from villages in western UP, which goes to polls in the first two phases, on February 10 and 14.

In one incident, where BJP Siwalkhas candidate Maninderpal Singh came under attack at Chur village on January 24 evening, an FIR has been lodged naming 20 people, with 65 listed as unidentified. While Singh did not register a complaint, police filed the FIR on its own on Thursday.

Singh told The Sunday Express: “I have not lodged a complaint though seven cars following me were damaged in stone-pelting. Ye humare hi log hain, maine unhein maaf kar diya. Loktantra mein vote maangnewalon se aisi ghatna nahin honi chahiye (These are our own people, and I forgive them. But such incidents should not happen to those seeking votes in a democracy).”

The police FIR says the men who pelted stones were carrying Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) flags and were being identified. “We are identifying them through available video footage and will take action,” said Lakshman Verma, the in-charge of Sardhana Police Station.

While the BJP had swept western UP in the 2017 elections, it is facing a difficult fight this time, due to the lingering anger over the contentious farm laws that were repealed by the Modi government after year-long protests. During the agitation, BJP MLAs had routinely been heckled in west UP villages, with the legislator from Budhana in Muzaffarnagar, facing a violent mob of BKU workers on August 14 last year.

The alliance formed by the Samajwadi Party and RLD, which could bring together their vote bases of Yadavs, Muslims and Jats respectively, could also cut into BJP votes. The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots had pushed Muslims and Jats apart, which partly explained the BJP’s sweep in 2017. BJP top brass, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, are leading the party push in the area. Shah held a meeting with Jat leaders in Delhi and has been door-to-door campaigning through the region.

SOURCE: THE INDIAN EXPRESS

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