UP sleuths seize explosives, arms ahead of pollsSleuths seize explosives, arms

Virendra Singh Rawat

In run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the law enforcement agencies including police have seized large quantities of explosives, arms and ammunitions in Uttar Pradesh.

According to UP Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Navdeep Rinwa, the haul included 47 kg of explosives and 137 bombs by the police.

Sleuths of the state police, excise, income tax, narcotics and other departments are conducting checks and raids across the state for the conduct of free, fair and independent polls in the coming months.

So far, 513 interstate and 1,847 intrastate check posts have been set up for intensive checking and vigil.

More than half-million licensed arms have been deposited by the police, while 414 licensed arms of persons with criminal antecedents seized apart from 3,862 arms impounded after canceling their licenses.

Besides, restraint orders were issued against more than 1.4 million individuals.

Meanwhile, police seized almost 2,900 unlicensed arms and 3,200 cartridges, while 626 illicit arms units were raided and 63 centres impounded.

Moreover, the police and other sleuths recovered liquor, drugs, cash, valuables, precious metals etc worth more than Rs 100 crore so far.

It included about Rs 18 crore cash, liquor worth Rs 25 crore, drugs of Rs 40 crore, precious metals estimated at Rs 18 crore etc.

Meanwhile, posters, graffiti, wall writings, banners etc had either been removed or covered under the model code of conduct at public and private places as well.

The model code of conduct was enforced on March 16, 2024 after the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the polling schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

UP, which accounts for the maximum 80 seats, would witness polling in 7 phases viz. April 19, 26, May 7, 13, 20, 25 and June 1, roughly progressing from the Western region towards the Eastern UP districts.

Earlier, ECI said it was striving to encourage voters in UP, which recorded a tepid turnout of nearly 59 percent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

As part of its ‘Turnout Implementation Plan’ (TIP), the polls regulator shortlisted 10 UP Lok Sabha constituencies where the voter turnout was below the state’s polling percentage.

These parliamentary constituencies comprise Phulpur, Kanpur, Allahabad, Shravasti, Gonda, Domariyaganj, Pratapgarh, Bhadohi, Amethi and Sant Kabir Nagar.

There are approximately 152.9 million voters in Uttar Pradesh (January 23 data), including 81.4 million male voters, 71.5 million female voters etc. The number of first-time voters (18-19 age group) is more than 2 million.

Per ECI, there are 1,62,012 polling stations in UP, of which 38,959 and 123,053 are in urban and rural areas respectively.

In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) won 64 Lok Sabha seats in UP, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won 10, the Samajwadi Party (SP) 5 and Congress scooped one.

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