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Panchayat polls: Lucknow, Varanasi among 20 districts to vote today

Voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm with over 3.23 crore voters eligible to exercise their franchise.

Voting for the second phase of the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh will take place on Monday with more than 3.48 lakh candidates in the fray for over 2.23 lakh posts in 20 districts.

Voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm with over 3.23 crore voters eligible to exercise their franchise.

The second phase assumes significance as state capital Lucknow and Varanasi will go to polls in this round. Apart from Lucknow and Varanasi, polling will be held in Amroha, Azamgarh, Etawah, Etah, Kannauj, Gonda, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh, Badaun, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Mainpuri, Maharajganj, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lalitpur, and Sultanpur districts on Monday.

For the 787 posts of members of zila panchayats, there are 11,483 candidates. For the 19,653 seats of kshetra panchayats, as many as 85,232 candidates are in the fray. As far as the gram panchayats are concerned, there are 1,21,906 candidates for 14,897 posts.

For the gram panchayat wards, there are as many as 1,30,305 candidates for 1,87,781 posts. The candidates will contest on “free symbols” given by the State Election Commission (SEC).

More than 2.31 lakh poll officials have been deployed for the smooth conduct of the panchayat polls.

Meanwhile, the State Election Commission has ordered repolling at 20 booths in nine districts after reports from officials over incidents of rigging at the polling booths in the first phase.

Repolling has been ordered at polling booths in Prayagraj’s Soraon Block, Agra’s Fatehabad and Jagner blocks, Jaunpur’s Jalalpur block, Rampur’s Bhahabad and Swar block, Hardoi’s Harpalpur, Kanpur Nagar’s Vidhnu block, Rae Bareilly’s Raahi and Maharajganj Blocks, Jhansi’s Moth block and Ayodhya’s Milkipur, Sohawal and Bikapur.

In the first phase on Thursday, a turnout of 71 per cent was recorded with some stray incidents of violence at some places. The districts that saw the highest turnout were Kanpur Nagar (75 per cent), Ghaziabad (74 per cent) and Bareilly (73 per cent).

In view of the coronavirus situation, the SEC had said last month that not more than five people would be allowed to accompany a candidate during door-to-door campaigning for the panchayat elections.

Additional Election Commissioner Ved Prakash Verma said three-member teams were formed under the additional district magistrates to ensure that the directives issued by the SEC were being followed.

At the district level, the chief medical officers have been made the nodal officers and stress has been laid on Covid-19 prevention.

Voters will mandatorily have to wear masks and maintain social distancing at the polling booths. Instructions have also been issued to make circles maintaining a distance of six feet between the voters standing in the queue.

Verma said the Covid-19 norms would also be followed during the counting of votes and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits would be arranged according to the requirements.

—With PTI Inputs

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