Crucial phase of UP polls sees rise in voter turnout SC has no power to punish me, HC judge says in letter
BATTLE BEGINS Ethnic mix makes it a make-or-break round for Mayawati’s BSP
An estimated 64.2% voter turnout was recorded in 73 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday in the first phase of polling considered crucial in determining results in the country’s most populous state.
The Election Commission said the figure was calculated at 5pm. The high turnout is believed to be because of heavy polling in Jat- and Muslimdominated areas of the 15 western UP districts, perceived to be a stronghold of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The region had recorded 59.6% voting in the 2012 assembly elections that witnessed Samajwadi Party (SP) making a dent into the BSP vote base, riding on a surge in support for its young leader Akhilesh Yadav. The party had then won as many as 24 seats.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP bagged all the parliamentary seats in the region with the Jat community voting overwhelmingly for it. But this time around, the Jats are reportedly upset with the party. The community is demanding reservation in jobs and education in neighbouring Haryana, where the BJP is in power. The stir could have reflection on the UP polls.
Of all the major players, BSP chief Mayawati has the largest stake in the region that has a large presence of Muslim, Jat and Dalit voters. People cast their votes at a polling booth in Ghaziabad on Saturday.
Justice CS Karnan of the Calcutta high court, who has been slapped with a contempt notice by the Supreme Court for approaching the Prime Minister with a list of allegedly corrupt judges, has responded saying “the courts have no power to enforce punishment against a sitting judge of the high court”.
On February 8, a sevenjudge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had ordered the registrar general of the Calcutta HC to relieve Justice Karnan of his duties. Justice Karnan was also asked to appear before the bench on February 13 to face contempt charges.
In a letter to the registrar general of the Supreme Court on Friday, a copy of which is available with HT, justice Karnan wrote: “This said order does not conform to logic, therefore is not suitable for execution. The characteristic of this order clearly shows the upper caste judges are taking law into their hands and misusing their judicial power by operating the same against a SC/ST Judge with mala fide intention of getting rid of him. Therefore the suo motu contempt order dated 08.02.2017 is not sustainable under law.”