Now, fake voter IDs in Uttar Pradesh

Till now there were fake marksheets, fake currency and fake identity cards. Fake voter ID cards are the latest addition to long list of “farzi” (false) documents that are available at a price in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls next week. The police in Balrampur district, where polling will be held in the first phase on February 8, busted a gang which had gained expertise in making fake voter ID cards. Five members of the gang were nabbed, who seized a facsimile of the Election Commission's hologram and the ink used for making the ID cards. Now, the poll officials are wondering if there are more such gangs operating elsewhere in the State. After all, bogus voting is one of the ills plaguing the electoral system what with the candidates using all the “hathkandas” (methods) to win.

For women cadre, Behenji’s rallies are an outing

For the committed women supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party election rallies of their “behenji” (Ms. Mayawati) are one grand party. They are just not interested in what the BSP chief says in her speeches, they only want their presence to be registered. Dressed in their best attire, with the married women sporting “bindiya” and “sindoor,” they present a motley hue of colours. A wag present in Ms. Mayawati's rally in Barabanki the other day remarked that the women supporters represented colour and grace. A far cry from the assemblies during the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister's earlier poll meetings when the BSP supporters could be identified from a distance. As the wag said, “these women may not be interested in knowing how many ministers were sacked by the Chief Minister and what the Central government did to U.P., but they knew only one thing, which is ‘button dabega haathi par' (vote to the BSP)”.

EC fears high-spirited campaign in Goa

South Goa seems to be living up to its notorious reputation of being the hub of illegal liquor flow during elections in the coastal tourist-friendly State. The Election Commission's prognosis that liberal flow of liquor would be the major headache for the election machinery has been proved right by the quantum of liquor the State Excise Department has seized in raids in around a week from January 24 to 31, way ahead of the actual elections scheduled for March 3. The liquor seizure in south Goa alone has been put up at 3478.035 litres worth Rs.3.31 lakh. In 273 raids spread across south Goa, the Department has registered cases against 55 people for stocking illegal liquor. Traditionally, south Goa is notoriously known for the liberal liquor flow during elections. This, according to Excise officials is just the beginning. Though Goa is presently under the spell of model code, the Excise officials and the women Expenditure Observers would have a real tough time controlling the liquor flow once the election campaign actually begins from the last day of withdrawal of nominations on February 17. In many constituencies, in the past some bars and taverns are virtually booked for their “election workers” and “potential voters” 24x7 by some candidates, till the Election Commission cracked the whip and stringently regulated the timings and directed early closure during the election process brushing aside protests in the name of “setback to tourism industry.”

(Contributed by Atiq Khan and Prakash Kamat)

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Poll DiaryJanuary 19, 2012