Amid stray violence, 65 per cent vote in first phase of panchayat polls

| | Lucknow
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Amid stray violence, 65 per cent vote in first phase of panchayat polls

Friday, 16 April 2021 | PNS | Lucknow

Amid sporadic violence, the first phase of the three-tier Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh was conducted with over 65 per cent of 30 million voters using their franchise in 18 districts.
State Election Commission (SEC) sources said in Lucknow said that the poll percentage was 61 per cent by 5 pm and was expected to cross the 65 per cent mark at the conclusion of the voting process at 6 pm.
In the first phase, voting was done in 88 tehsils which included 312 blocks, while posts at stake were 14789 for gram pradhans, 186583 for gram panchayat members, 19313 kshetra panchayat members and 779 zila panchayat members.
District where the first phase of elections  were held included Saharanpur., Ghaziabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Hathras, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Jhansi, Mahoba, Prayagraj, Rae Bareli, Hardoi, Ayodhya, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur and Bhadohi.
West UP districts like Saharanpur, Ghaziabad witnessed high polling of around 65 per cent till 5pm while Ayodhya and Kanpur recorded just 51 and 59 per cent respectively.
SEC sources said that polling was by and large peaceful though there were reports of minor incidents in some districts.
A report said that a pradhan candidate was shot at in Gorakhpur while group clashes were reported in Sant Kabir Nagar district. In Kairokhar village of Garautha in Jhansi, a polling station was turned into a police camp after violence took place during polling.  
At a polling booth at a Primary school at Kairokhar, mobs looted ballot boxes and beat up the polling staff.
A report from Agra said that miscreants looted ballot boxes from a booth in Rihalvi village in Fatehabad area. The miscreants took away ballot boxes by cutting the grill of a window of the room where they were kept. Efforts were on to track down the miscreants and recover the ballot boxes. Another report in the Agra report said that ballot boxes were looted from Chansora village in Jagner police station area.
In Kanpur, six persons, including a BDC candidate, were taken into custody for assault and fake voting in Rar village of Bhergaon block of Ghatampur. A dispute took place between pradhan candidates Shivhari Khangar and Rajesh Pal.  
Elsewhere, a woman polling personnel Nirmala Sahu (56) deputed at a polling center of Jhansi's  Baragaon block died during the process on Thursday morning.  While conducting election at booth number 61, the officer complained of uneasiness and vomited blood. But by the time she could be given medical treatment, she died. Nirmala Sahu is said to be suffering from cancer.
Villagers started to protest at some booths in Gagaha in Gorakhpur after their names were found missing from voters' list. The gram pradhan sat on a dharna.
Residents of Bhatura village of Sakri, a gram sabha of Gagaha block, alleged that names of at least 135 people were missing from the voters list after which they declared to boycott the elections. They threatened not to vote in future elections and demanded an inquiry to identify the culprits.
Residents of Vantangia villages in Gorakhpur cast their votes for panchayat polls, for the first time ever. The villages were declared revenue villages by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2018.
In Saharanpur, two pradhan candidates and their supporters came to a head leading to damage to a couple of vehicles.
Over 123 million voters are eligible to cast their votes in the four phase polling through ballot papers to be held on April 15, 19, 26 and 29 while the counting of votes will be held on May 2.
Each voter has the privilege to cast four votes, one each for village panchayat members, pradhan, kshetra panchayat members and Zila panchayat members.

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