After Dalit candidate’s death, Jaunpur poll may be countermanded

April 18th, 2009 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, April 18 (IANS) The Lok Sabha poll in Jaunpur constituency of Uttar Pradesh may be countermanded after the alleged murder of Indian Justice Party (IJP) candidate Bahadur Sonkar. The incident is being probed by two bureaucrats from outside the state, Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi said Saturday.
“We are keeping our options open to countermand the election in Jaunpur. A decision in this regard will be taken only after the two IAS officers, who are not from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, submit the report,” Qureshi told reporters at a press conference here.

“We are taking the incident quite seriously and want to ensure that strict action will be taken against those found guilty,” he added.

Qureshi said the two IAS officers were already in Jaunpur for the probe.

The body of Sonkar, a Dalit leader, was found hanging from a tree in the state’s Jaunpur town early Monday. He was contesting against the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Dhananjay Singh for the poll which was scheduled for April 23. Sonkar’s relatives have blamed the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party for the death.

Sonkar’s body was found barely 500 metres from his home near a pond in Jaunpur, about 210 km from here. His family members said they found him missing from his bed and the bed linen as well as his slippers and cell phone were strewn on the veranda, indicating a scuffle.

The autopsy report Monday described it as “death by hanging” and hinted at “suicide”. However, the victim’s family members allege the report was “doctored”.

Qureshi said polls in all Maoist dominated areas were deliberately held simultaneously. “Naxalite violence could have taken place in a much bigger way. But as part of our three-month long strategy we decided to conducts polls in the Naxal-infested areas on the same day.”

He said the idea was to prevent Maoist movement from one state to other, he added. In the first phase of polls April 16, 19 people were killed in Maoist violence.

Qureshi also thanked the media.

“On several occasions, we have taken action only after viewing TV news clippings and on the basis of media reports. Media serves as our eyes and ears,” said Qureshi.

Qureshi said in the next phase, 17 parliamentary constituencies spread across 20 districts in Uttar Pradesh will go to polls and 324 candidates, including 15 women, are in the fray.

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