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

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ku­mar Ut­tam letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com Sudipto Mon­dal and Soibam Rocky Singh letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

SAKIB ALI /HT

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