As western Uttar Pradesh voted today in the first round of elections in the state, Jayant Chaudhary, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief, faced a backlash after saying he may skip voting because of his election rallies. Hours later, he amended his earlier statement and said he would “try” to cast is 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 ANI.
Mr Chaudhary was campaigning in Bijnor with his ally Akhilesh Yadav, the chief of the Samajwadi Party.
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
— Jayant Singh (@jayantrld) February 10, 2022
As the day wore on, many BJP leaders flagged that Mr Chaudhary was not voting. The RLD spokesperson said he would visit a polling centre in the evening.
“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,” BJP president JP Nadda said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh.
Another BJP veteran, Uma Bharti, also questioned Mr Chaudhary’s decision to miss the vote.
Voting took place in 58 seats in the first phase of the UP election.
Earlier today, Mr Chaudhary had 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.”
This was seen to be a response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks yesterday in an interview to news agency ANI. PM 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.