Varanasi: Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel and other party leaders have started a dharna and sought re-election for Rohaniya Assembly seat, where the Samajwadi Party candidate was leading, alleging that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tampered with.
Leaders of Apna Dal and its ally BJP alleged that "seal of EVMs and its boxes were found broken before the counting of votes started".
At the end of the 20th round of counting, Mahendra Singh Patel of the state's ruling Samajwadi Party (62,312 votes) was leading by 10,687 votes against Apna Dal's Krishna Patel who bagged 51,625 votes. Ramakant Singh (Independent) secured 22,603 votes after the 20th round. There are total 25 rounds and the counting is in progress.
Anupriya, whose mother is contesting the assembly poll as Apna Dal-BJP candidate, was joined by several other candidates and leaders. They also blocked the road in front of Paharia Mandi, where counting of votes is going on.
"We have staged walkout from the counting centre as the EVMs that were brought for counting were tampered with... We demand re-election for the Rohaniya assembly seat," said BJP district president Azad Singh Gautam, with Apna Dal district president Rajesh Patel by his side.
"We have given a written complaint to the election observer on this matter...," Gautam added.
The bypoll was necessitated after sitting MLA Anupriya resigned following her election to Lok Sabha.