Last phase of UP panchayat polls tomorrow

Lucknow : Voting for the fourth and last phase of the three-tier panchayat polls will be held on Thursday amid the exponential rise in Covid cases. The first phase of polling in 18 districts were held on April 15, when around 71 per cent of the over 3 crore voters used their franchise.

The second phase polling was held in 20 districts on April 19, when around 73 per cent of the 3 crore voters used their franchise in a peaceful note. In the third phase of polls held in 20 districts on April 26, around 73.5 per cent voters used their franchise.

On the other hand, Covid-19 was creating havoc in the state and the state is experiencing shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.The campaigning for the fourth phase had ended on Tuesday evening in 17 districts where polling will be held between 0700 hours to 1800 hours on Thursday.

State Election Commission (SEC) sources here on Wednesday said around 3 crore voters will exercise their franchise for 738 posts of Zilla Panchayat member, 18556 of Kshetra Panchayat member, 14111 posts of Gram Pradhan and 177648 posts of Gram Panchayat ward member. Around 2.5 lakh candidates in the fray.

The polling parties have start leaving for their respective booths from this morning.The SEC has appointed observers to monitor the transparency and fairness of the polling. There are around 50,000 polling booths during this phase of polling.

The voting will be held in Bulandshahar, Hapur, Sambhal, Shahjahanpur ,Aligarh, Mathura, Farrukhabad, Banda ,Kaushambi ,Sitapur, Ambedkaranagar ,Bahraich, Basti Kushinagar, Ghazipur ,Sonbhadra and Mau.

Meanwhile, SEC has ordered repolling in 22 booths in 5 districts where polling were held in the third phase. Elections for 58,189 village panchayats of Uttar Pradesh are taking place in four phases, between April 15 and 29, with the counting of votes scheduled for May 2.

This panchayat polls is termed as a semi final before the 2022 assembly polls in the state.

The polls will be a key test of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government’s popularity, and an opportunity for opposition parties to gauge the public mood, particularly as they come against the backdrop of persisting farmers’ protests in the country that have also gripped parts of UP.

State primary teachers association have opposed the panchayat polls in view of the pandemic and even threstened to boycott the counting process. The association alleged that around 200 teachers doing poll duties have either died or fell critical ill due to Covid .

Meanwhile, State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar has said that all observers have been instructed to follow the model code of conduct in panchayat elections.

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