Uttarakhand bypolls: 4 hurt in clash in Manglaur assembly constituency

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Manglaur Congress candidate Qazi Nizamuddin alleged that miscreants also opened fire near the polling booth. (Screengrab)

Manglaur Congress candidate Qazi Nizamuddin alleged that miscreants also opened fire near the polling booth. (Screengrab)

Dehradun: Four people were injured in a clash between supporters of rival parties at a polling booth in Uttarkhand's Manglaur assembly constituency where bypolls were underway on Wednesday, according to police.

Polling was also underway in the state's Badrinath assembly constituency.

By 3 pm, a voter turnout of 56.21 per cent was recorded in Manglaur and 40.50 per cent in Badrinath.

In Manglaur, the BSP has fielded Ubedur Rehman, the son of party MLA Sarwat Karim Ansari whose death necessitated the bypoll, against Congress' Qazi Nizamuddin.

The BJP has fielded Gujjar leader Kartar Singh Bhadana.

In Badrinath, there is a direct contest between BJP's Rajendra Bhandari and Congress newcomer Lakhpat Singh Butola.

Polling in Manglaur was marred by violence.

Roorkee Civil Line Kotwali in-charge R K Saklani told PTI that a report was received about the clash between workers of two parties at booth number 53-54 in Libbarheri in Manglaur.

Four people were injured in the clash and they have been sent to the hospital, he said.

Some reports claimed there was firing at the booth. However, the district administration and police denied the reports.

Congress candidate Nizamuddin was seen taking a man in bloodstained clothes to the hospital. He accused the BJP of throttling democracy by sowing seeds of hatred. There was no immediate reaction from the BJP.

A video on social media showed Nizamuddin embracing an injured party worker at the hospital and crying aloud.

Another video showed some voters being chased out of the booth by men who had covered their faces.

Several Congress leaders including former chief minister Harish Rawat, Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Yashpal Arya and Congress MP Imran Masood condemned the violence saying this had never happened in Uttarakhand before.

"It has been done at the behest of the BJP in complicity with the authorities," Rawat charged.

He accused the BJP of trying to stop people from voting for the Congress and "murdering democracy".

Masood said the BJP is introducing electoral violence and hooliganism in Uttarakhand.

Arya asked people to beware of the designs of the BJP.

"A Congress delegation will call on the chief electoral officer to lodge a complaint as the district administration and the police are hand in glove with the state government," he alleged.

Voting for the bypolls began at 8 am and will go on till 6 pm.

Manglaur, a Muslim and Dalit-dominated constituency, has been held either by the BSP or the Congress in the past.

The Badrinath seat fell vacant after sitting Congress MLA Rajendra Bhandari resigned and switched to the BJP in March this year.

Besides BJP and Congress nominees, other candidates in the fray in Badrinath are former CRPF officer Himmat Singh of the Sainik Samaj Party and Naval Khali, a journalist who is contesting as an Independent candidate.

Votes for the bypolls will be counted on July 13.