Lakhimpur: Surrounded by scores of security personnel, Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni voted at a polling booth in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur on February 23 amid massive protest staged by angered farmers over the killing of 8 people involving his son.
The minister flashed a “V” (for victory) sign as reporters shouted questions on his son Ashish Mishra, accused of running over farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri last year.
Ashish Mishra, jailed last October, was released on bail a week ago, in the middle of the UP election.
Chaotic visuals showed the minister pushing and shoving to get ahead as a large number of policemen formed a barrier between him and the media.
“Ajay Mishra-ji!” shouted reporters as they tried to catch his attention and failed to get close to him. The images raised questions about a voter taking so much security with him to a polling booth.
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) February 23, 2022
Purported videos on social media showed Mishra, Union Minister of Home in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and senior BJP leader, walking to and fro the voting centre around 11.30 AM flanked by an unusually large number of security personnel at a polling booth in Nighasan assembly constituency.
Ashish Mishra was arrested in October, days after he allegedly ran over protesting farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri with his SUV. The farmers were marching against the minister’s visit for an event when the convoy crashed into them.
In videos that caused outrage and horror, an SUV was seen ramming and crushing eight people, including four farmers, during violence in the Tikunia area in his native district here. Ashish Mishra and his father have both denied that he was driving the SUV.
His son Ashish Mishra was an accused in the case and was arrested. Ashish was earlier this month granted bail by the Allahabad High Court, prompting families of the deceased farmers to move the Supreme Court over the matter.
UP police sources claim their 5,000-page chargesheet against Ashish Mishra and the other accused place him at the spot on the day of the incident using multiple eye witness accounts, CCTV footage and photographs.
In 2017, the BJP won all eight assembly seats in Lakhimpur, in a campaign led by Ajay Mishra, a brahmin face who is a strongman and among the BJP’s most powerful UP leaders.
Uttar Pradesh voted in the fourth round today of seven-phase voting. The results will be declared on March 10.