Lucknow: As western Uttar Pradesh is underway voting today for the first phase of elections in the most politically crucial state, Jayant Chaudhary, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief, landed himself in controversy after saying he may skip voting because of his poll rallies. Hours later, he amended his earlier statement and said he would “try” to cast his vote in Mathura.
“I’m a voter of Mathura. Right now, we’re in Bijnor as there are just two days to campaign between the first and second rounds of the UP polls. My wife voted in the morning itself. After campaigning ends here, I’ll try to vote at booths open till 6 pm,” Mr Chaudhary told media.
Notably, Mr Chaudhary was campaigning in Bijnor with his ally Akhilesh Yadav, who is the chief of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
Photos showed Mr Chaudhary’s wife Charu Chaudhary at a voting booth in Mathura. The RLD chief tweeted her photo, saying: “Charu has voted in Mathura.”
चारु ने किया मथुरा में मतदान! pic.twitter.com/7MgO1tW1Em
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— Jayant Singh (@jayantrld) February 10, 2022
As the day saw people rushing to poll booths to cast their vote, many BJP leaders flagged that Mr Chaudhary was not voting. The RLD spokesperson said he would visit a polling centre in the evening.
Targeting the RLD president, BJP president JP Nadda said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh, “Today one leader, who was supposed to vote and exercise his franchise, did not even do so. This is the arrogance of parivarvad (nepotism). Such people get the reply they deserve from democracy.”
Another BJP veteran, Uma Bharti, also reprimanded Mr Chaudhary’s decision to miss the vote.
Earlier today in a response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yesterday remark where Modi had said that UP had earlier seen the “game of two boys” and ‘buaji’ (a reference to the Samajwadi Party-Congress and SP-Mayawati alliances) but the people of the state rejected their alliances, Mr Chaudhary said, “You can call me ‘baccha’ or ‘ladka’, I don’t care. We’re going ahead with hopeful and positive thoughts. We want to promote positive politics. Akhilesh and I want to work on the issues of employment, agriculture, much needed industrialization in western UP.”
Voting took place in 58 seats in the first phase of the UP election.