Violence erupts during UP panchayat polls as BJP claims win
Widespread violence erupted across Uttar Pradesh during the elections for panchayat block chiefs Saturday, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed a "historic victory." Clashes were reported from at least 18 districts including Etawah, Unnao, Hathras, Amethi, Kanpur, Mau, Amroha, Lucknow, Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh, Pratapgarh, Kanpur Dehat, etc. The police have launched a probe and have issued directives of a strict vigil in these districts.
Police officer attacked in Etawah; video viral
While visuals of the violence are being circulated on social media, a video from Etawah city especially caught attention where the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Prashant Kumar Prasad claimed being attacked by BJP leaders. He was heard telling his bosses on a call, "These people are throwing bricks and stones, sir. They even slapped me. They brought bombs as well; people from BJP."
Those responsible will face action: ADG
ADG Prashant Kumar told The Indian Express that the incident will be probed and an FIR has been lodged. "We will see the footage and whoever has done this will face action," he said. Reportedly, BJP leader Vimal Bhadauria has been booked.
Journalist attacked in Unnao
In Unnao, journalist Krishna Tewari was allegedly attacked by Chief Development Officer (CDO) Divyanshu Patel and BJP workers while he was reporting from a polling center. Tewari, who works as a cameraperson for a TV channel, also alleged that no action has been taken against the perpetrators. The police said a complaint has been filed by Tewari and the incident will be investigated.
SP, BJP workers clash; cops thrashed in Hamirpur
Further, a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader was injured after being shot at in Hathras, NDTV reported. Similar incidents of clashes between workers of the BJP and the SP were reported in other districts such as Hamirpur and Chandauli. In Hamirpur, cops were thrashed, while the police in Chandauli resorted to baton-charging riotous workers of both parties.
'Guilty will face action, even if they're from BJP'
The BJP said that anyone found guilty of the violence in Etawah and Unnao will face action, even if they belong to the party. "A fair investigation will be done...No one has the right to take the law in their hands," a BJP spokesperson said.
Opposition slammed BJP over violence
Opposition parties—including the SP, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress—accused the BJP of misusing the government machinery to influence panchayat polls. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the BJP was undermining the democratic process, adding that Opposition candidates were "abducted openly," and those who protested were harassed. "Democracy in Uttar Pradesh has been held hostage by the BJP," Yadav said.
No rule of law; jungle raj in UP: Mayawati
Cornering the BJP for the violence, BSP supremo Mayawati said, "In the reign of the present BJP government in UP, there is no rule of law, but a jungle raj is prevailing there." She also condemned the manner in which a woman was treated in Lakhimpur Kheri and asked, "Is this BJP's rule of law and democracy? This is something to ponder upon."
BJP, allies claim victory in 635 of 825 seats
The BJP and its allies have claimed victory on more than 635 out of 825 seats of the block panchayat chiefs. Counting for 476 seats had concluded till Saturday. Notably, 349 seats were elected unopposed on Friday, which was the last date of withdrawal of nominations. Last week, the BJP had swept the polls for district panchayat chiefs by winning 67 of 75 seats.
Victory reflects success of Yogi government's policies: PM
While the poll violence made headlines, BJP's top leadership did not refrain from wishing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the victory. "Yogi Adityanath government's policies and public interest schemes have been reflected in the party's massive victory," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. While addressing a press conference, Adityanath said victory is the people's referendum on the good work done by the BJP government.