New Delhi: The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday rejected Union Minister Smriti Irani's allegations of booth capturing in Amethi by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Talking to media, Venkateshwar Lu, CEO UP dubbed the allegations leveled by Smriti Irani as 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.
Earlier, the Congress had also rejected Smriti Irani’s allegation and claimed that since the BJP knows it is going to face defeat in Amethi and this is the reason why Smriti is looking fo excuses. “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,” said Congress spokesperson Zeeshan Haider.
On Monday, during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha election, Irani had tweeted a video in which an elderly woman can be seen claiming that she was forced by the polling officer to caste her vote for the Congress party and not for the BJP. “They held my hand and forced me to press the Congress’ button. I wanted to vote for lotus (BJP)”, the woman can be heard saying in the video.
— Chowkidar Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 6, 2019
Following the video, the BJP leader had urged the Election Commission to look into the matter and take appropriate action against Rahul Gandhi. “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.
Smriti Irani: 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 pic.twitter.com/v0hkw3HA6u
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 6, 2019
In Amethi, Smriti is pitted against Congress president Rahul Gandhi. In 2014 too, Smriti fought against Rahul from this parliamentary constituency but the Congress president had won by a comfortable margin of over 1 lakh votes.