LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday alleged that the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh is misusing official machinery to intimidate panchayat members to force them to vote for its candidates in the upcoming zila panchayat chairperson polls.
He said the SP recently complained to the state police chief, but to no avail.
Polling for the election of zila panchayat chairpersons in Uttar Pradesh will be held on July 3.
Zila panchayat chairpersons are elected from among the members of zila panchayats of various districts.
There are 75 districts in the state.
A statement issued by the SP here quoted Yadav as saying, "The BJP is upset over its defeat in the panchayat elections. Not having the numbers, the distraught BJP leadership is misusing the government machinery to ensure that their party nominees win the posts of zila panchayat chairpersons."
"This is a gross misuse of power and democracy is in danger due to these repressive policies," he said.
In the UP panchayat elections held in April, the BJP won just eight out of the 40 zila panchayat seats in Ayodhya while the SP claimed candidates it backed won 22 seats.
The result was particularly bad for the BJP in the Sohawal sub-district with the party drawing a blank.
The SP claimed to have won three of the four zila panchayat seats there, leaving one for an independent candidate.
Yadav alleged that in Auraiya, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Etah, Hapur, Siddharthnagar, Rampur, Gorakhpur and Farrukhabad, etc. the BJP is openly victimising the elected zila panchayat members of the SP and those supported by it.
He claimed the family members of panchayat members are also being harassed in different ways using the government machinery.
An SP delegation had complained to the director general of police, but in vain.
Yadav warned the BJP that it will have to face "massive public outrage" if it tries to get its people elected as zila panchayat chairpersons by misusing police, administration and the power of money.
In another release, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the party has suspended former zila panchayat chairman of Baghpat Omkar Yadav and former district unit president Kiran Pal alias Billu for six years for indulging in anti-party activities.