LUCKNOW: Voting is underway in 16 districts today with ballot papers for the first phase of the four-phase Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections, seen as a semi-final of the 2022 Assembly elections. Voting will be held from morning to evening with Covid-19 protocol venue.
During voting, voters must wear a mask and maintain social distance. Instructions have also been issued to form circles at polling stations at a distance of six feet.
The Allahabad High Court had asked the state government to complete the panchayat-election process within 25 years.
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List of districts that will go to the polls in the first phase
Ayodhya, Agra, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Vadohi, Mahoba, Rampur, Rae Bareli, Srabasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Saharanpur, Harday and Hatras.
More than 3.33 lakh candidates are in the fray
More than 33.33 lakh candidates are in the fray in more than 2.21 lakh seats in the first phase for the posts of Zila Panchayat (Zila Parishad) Member, Kshetra (Block) Panchayat Member, Gram Panchayat Head and Ward.
For Zila Panchayat member posts, 11,442 candidates are in the fray from 779 wards, and 61,4,74 candidates are contesting in 19,333 wards of Kshetra Panchayats.
There are 1,14,142 candidates for 14,789 Gram Panchayat posts. For Gram Panchayat Ward, there are 1,26,613 candidates for 1,86,583 seats.
The teams in the competition
Apart from parties like BJP, BSP, Samajwadi Party and Congress, the competition also includes IIMIM, Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Sena chief Chandra Shekhar Azad’s Azad Samaj Party, which is making its debut in the state. AIIMIM Suheldev will contest the elections with the Bharatiya Samaj Party
Considering the coronavirus situation, the State Election Commission (SEC) said in March that no more than five people would be allowed to go with the candidate during the door-to-door campaign for the panchayat elections.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh has taken the number of active cases in the state in the last 24 hours with 20,510 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1,11,835.