Panchayat elections: First phase polling today

| | Lucknow
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Panchayat elections: First phase polling today

Thursday, 15 April 2021 | PNS | Lucknow

Amidst the novel coronavirus scare and speculations of cancellation of polls, polling for the first phase of the four-phase Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections will take place on Thursday in 18 districts with ballot papers.
The polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm.
The panchayat elections are being seen as a semifinal to the 2022 UP assembly elections.
State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar said here on Wednesday that the elections would be held as per schedule. He said the polling parties had started reaching the polling stations in 18 districts where voters would exercise their franchise in the first phase.  He said 23 senior IAS and PCS officers had been made observers in these elections and there would be adequate security at the polling booths.
In the first phase, close to 3.5 lakh candidates are in the fray for more than 2.21 lakh posts of zila panchayat, kshetra panchayat and village panchayat members and gram pradhans and wards.
The districts that will go to the polls on Thursday are Allahabad, Agra, Ayodhya, Bareilly, Bhadohi, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Hardoi, Hathras Jaunpur, Jhansi, Kanpur, Mahoba, Rampur, Rae Bareli, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, and Saharanpur.
For zila panchayat members' post, 11,442 candidates are contesting in 779 wards and 81,747 candidates are in the fray from 19,313 wards for kshetra panchayats. There are 1,14,142 candidates for 14,789 posts of gram pradhans, while 1,26,613 candidates are contesting for 1,86,583 seats of gram panchayat members.
The key parties in the race are Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Congress, AIMIM, Aam Aadmi Party and Azad Samaj Party. The AIMIM has joined hands with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party for the UP panchayat polls. However, the candidates will contest on 'free symbols' given by the State Election Commission.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the voters will be required to comply with the Covid protocol and wear masks and maintain social distancing.

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