A poll panel official told that they were leaving ‘nothing to chance’, considering the "recent communally sensitive history" of western UP.

"In case there is any incident that disturbs the level playing field or vitiates the atmosphere in the runup to the polls, during campaign, voting and counting, the district officials would be held responsible," a recent missive from the Election Commission said.

Officials and observers of the poll panel are closely monitoring the situation in the districts where by-polls are to be held. "All speeches in the campaign are being monitored and we are doing everything to ensure that the polls pass off peacefully," an official said.

State assembly seats in western UP going to by-polls include Thakurdwara (Moradabad), Saharanpur City, Bijnor and Noida. Saharanpur witnessed communal clashes only recently and Moradabad was singed by violent clashes in Kaanth over removal of loudspeakers from a Shiva temple.

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