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Video of Youth Casting Eight Votes for BJP, UP Chief Election Officer Recommends Re-poll at Booth

The headman's son “snatched” the voting slips of those who came to vote at the booth and voted on their behalf. The police officer on duty, Dinesh Thakur, assisted him in the “fake voting,” it is alleged.
Screenshot of video posted by youth who voted multiple times for BJP. Photo: X/@yadavakhilesh

New Delhi: The son of a village headman allegedly linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party was arrested by police on Sunday, May 19, after the Opposition raised serious concerns over a viral video showing him casting multiple votes—eight to be precise—for the saffron party candidate in Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency.

Taking note of the matter, UP’s chief election officer, Navdeep Rinwa, has recommended to the Election Commission of India that a repoll be held in the voting station where the incident happened.

Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty

Rinwa also said that instructions to “suspend and institute disciplinary proceedings” against all members of the polling party had been issued. Farrukhabad voted on May 13, in the third phase of voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Rinwa ordered the action after taking cognizance of a video in which the youth—whose name The Wire is withholding as he is under the age of 18—recorded himself casting eight votes on the EVM for the BJP candidate and sitting MP Mukesh Rajput. The video, in which he can be seen pressing the EVM on eight occasions, and counting each one boastfully, was widely shared on social media.

An FIR was lodged in the matter at Nayagaon police station in Etah district under Sections 171-F (undue influence and impersonation at an election) and 419 (cheating by personation) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 128, 132 and 136 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency comprises four assembly segments in Farrukhabad district and one assembly seat, Aliganj, in Etah district. The incident happened in village Khiriya Pamaran in Aliganj, Etah.

Earlier in the day, Naval Kishor Shakya, the Samajwadi Party’s candidate in Farrukhabad, complained to the district election officers of Etah and Farrukhabad drawing attention to the “fake voting” at booth no 343 in Gram Khiriya Pamaran. Shakya said that the minor son of the “domineering” village headman cast “fake votes”, made a video of it and shared it on social media.

In his complaint, Shakya said that the headman’s son “snatched” the voting slips of those who came to vote at the booth and voted on their behalf. The police officer on duty, Dinesh Thakur, assisted him in the “fake voting,” said Shakya, demanding a re-poll be held at the booth. He also demanded that re-poll be held on two other booths, 349 (Nagla Bhaggu) and 359 (Mangadpur), alleging that some “dabang” people had not allowed proper voting to take place. On booth 349, for instance, Shakya said that voters from his community, Shakya, an OBC community, were not allowed to vote.

It is not yet clear if the accused youth actually cast valid votes or how he managed to shoot the video allegedly casting eight votes for the BJP. The UP CEO in a statement, while announcing the minor’s arrest, said he was the “person appearing to be voting multiple times in the video.”

Sharing the video on his X profile, SP president Akhilesh Yadav, mocked the Election Commission over the incident. “If the Election Commission feels something wrong has happened, they can take action. Otherwise…,” said Yadav. “The BJP’s booth committee is in fact a loot committee,” he said, targeting the saffron party.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also shared the video, and said, “Sensing defeat, to deny the mandate, the BJP wants to loot democracy by pressuring the government machinery.” Gandhi also issued a warning to the officers on election duty, reminding them that they “should not forget their constitutional responsibility” under the “pressure of power (government).”

“Otherwise, after the INDIA government is formed, such action will be taken that anyone will think 10 times before insulting the ‘oath of the constitution,” said Gandhi.

The SP accused the Election Commission of working on the “directions” of the BJP, and said that the Aliganj case was caught on camera but there were numerous such instances that were yet to come out in public domain.

The Congress also took a dig at the ECI, saying, “A boy is voting eight times. Please wake up now.”

Rinwa said strict instructions to rigorously follow the procedure in regard to identification of the voters have been issued to all district election officers of the remaining phases in UP. The BJP won Farrukhabad in 2014 and 2019. Three phases of voting, for 41 seats, are left in UP.

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