When rigging during voting was at its peak before the advent of the T.N. Seshan era, local musclemen would only allow Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav's voters to cast ballot in his stronghold of Mainpuri district in UP, Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Saturday.
"I recall an incident. In Mainpuri town, no one would vote. Only those who Mulayam Singh wanted would vote," Malik said while speaking at a function organised here to mark the 10th National Voter's Day celebrations.
Malik hails from Bagpath district in Uttar Pradesh and has been an elected lawmaker in the UP state Assembly as well as the Parliament from the northern state.
"When central forces went there, his brother Shivpal was trying to enter a polling booth. He was not authorised to go, so a CRPF officer stuck a carbine to him. He had never thought in his life that such a thing could happen," Malik said, adding that the incident put the fear of law into the local musclemen who were trying to rig polling booths.
"In rural areas, rigging was a factor, especially in Bihar, UP and Harayana. No one was allowed to vote. Musclemen would take over the voting process, officers would connive with them and the results would turn topsy-turvy," he said.
"I would like to recall late T.N. Seshan. Things improved after he came to the scene. He disciplined the election process. One thing he did was the introduction of central para-military forces. Till the local police were in charge, they could be influenced. But when outside forces were introduced, the musclemen were scared," Malik said.
Seshan, who passed away last year, served as the Chief Election Commissioner from 1990 to 1996, and was known for introducing landmark electoral reforms.