Lucknow: Voting for the first of the four phase Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls in 18 districts began on a peaceful note on Thursday morning.
Uttar Pradesh Pradesh State Elections Commission (SEC) has made elaborate arrangements, including security and transparency, for the first leg of the 3-tier panchayat polls in the state.
Polling, which commenced at 0700 hrs, will conclude at 1800 hrs.
According to SEC sources, during the first two hours of polling around 5 to 10 per cent of the 3,16,46,162 voters have exercised their franchise in 51,176 booths.
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 with the counting of votes on May 2.
Each voter will have the privilege to cast four votes, one each for village panchayat member, Pradhan, Khetra panchayat member and Zila panchayat member.
SEC Manoj Kumar said here on Thursday that polling was underway on a peaceful note and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
He said 23 senior IAS and PCS officers have been made observers in this elections. Besides, there is adequate security at the polling booths.
In the first phase, the total number of tehsil is 88 which includes 312 blocks, while the posts in the stake are 14,789 for gram pradhan, 1,86,583 for gram panchayat members, 19,313 kshetra panchayat members and 779 Zila panchayat members posts.
In the first phase, there are 11,442 candidates for 779 posts of Zila Panchayat member, 81,747 candidates for 19,313 posts of Kshetra Panchayat member, 1,14,142 candidates for 14,789 posts of Gram Pradhan and for 1,86,583 posts of Gram Panchayat ward members there are 2,26,613 candidates in the fray.
However, 69,541-gram panchayat members, 86 pradhans, 550 kshetra panchayat members and one Zila panchayat member (Hardoi district) have been elected unopposed in the first phase.
The districts that are included in the first phase of UP Panchayat Elections includes Saharanpur., Ghaziabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Hathras, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Jhansi, Mahoba, Prayagraj, Rae Bareli, Hardoi, Ayodhya, Shravasti, Santakbirnagar, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur and Bhadohi.
Voting was underway in the midst of the stringent Covid protocol, even as the second wave of Coronavirus infection picks up. It will be mandatory for voters to put on masks and maintain physical distance. The commission has issued an order to make the enclosure at a distance of six-six feet outside every polling station. The Covid-19 protocol will also be fully followed during the counting of votes on May 2 PPE kits will also be arranged as and when required.
State’s ADG Law and Order Prashant Kumar said that in the first phase, voting will be held at 51,036 polling booths in a total of 19,774 polling stations in these 18 districts.
Among these, special focus will be on Jhansi, Hardoi, Kanpur, Rae Bareli, Ayodhya, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur and Bhadohi, he said.
Mr Kumar says that the policemen who are on duty have been instructed to make masks, face shields, sanitisers, gloves and other safety equipment compulsory.