New Delhi: Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani was left red faced after the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh rejected her allegations of booth capturing in Amethi by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is seeking re-election in the parliamentary constituency.
Earlier on Monday, during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019, Irani had tweeted a video wherein an elderly woman claimed that she was forced to caste her vote for the Congress party. “They held my hand and forced me to press the Congress’ button. I wanted to vote for lotus (BJP)”, the woman.
Following the video, Smriti had urged the election commission to take appropriate action against the Congress chief. “I tweeted an alert to administration and EC(alleging booth capturing in Amethi), hope they take action. People of the country have to decide whether this kind of politics of Rahul Gandhi should be punished or not,” Irani was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
However, Venkateshwar Lu,CEO, UP dismissed the allegations and said,”The charges were found to be 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. Due to prima facie allegations in the clip, the presiding officer was summarily removed while the probe was going on,” the electoral official added.
The Congress party had also rejected Irani’s allegation “It now is more than clear that she has lost. Now, she is looking for excuses. If Rahul Gandhi ji is capturing booths, and capturing votes, then what is the election commission doing that has been working in a biased manner in favour of Modi and Amit Shah,” a leading portal quoted Congress spokesperson Zeeshan Haider as saying.
Amethi, which went to polls in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls on May 6 witnessed 48.57 per cent voter turnout. The parliamentary constituency was won by the Congress president in 2014 general elections against Irani by a margin of over one lakh votes.