Voting for the first phase of Civic polls began in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday at 7 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m. Campaigning for the elections ended on Monday and the polling will take place in three phases. 24 of the total 75 districts will face the polls today in the first phase. The next two phases will be held on 26 and 29 Nov and the counting for all three phases will be done on 1 Dec.
The districts going to polls in the first phase are Shamli, Meerut, Hapur, Bijnore, Badaun, Hathras, Kasganj, Agra, Kanpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Hardoi, Amethi, Faizabad, Gonda, Basti, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, and Sonebhadra.
A total of 230 local bodies will be going to poll in the first phase, including voting for five municipal corporations, 71 Nagar Palika Parishad and 154 Nagar panchayats. Around 1.09 crore voters will be exercising their franchise at around 11,679 booths.
The Election Commission is using the EVM machines for the first time in civic polls in Uttar Pradesh, though they will be used only for voting for Municipal Corporations. Strict security arrangements have been done to ensure that the voting goes on smoothly. The State Election Commission has also claimed that they have made all arrangements for free and fair polls. Also, extra security has been arranged for the hypersensitive areas and drones will be used to keep a check.
Kunwar Anupam Singh, SP (city) informed that 50 polling centres had been identified as hypersensitive and hypersensitive plus and added that “Six drone cameras will keep vigil at hypersensitive and hypersensitive plus polling centres. Out of these, three would be available in the city and three would be for rural areas.”
Singh in his statement to the media stated that “We have eight companies of PAC and two companies of CRPF would be assisting the state police force in Agra. There is an adequate force to man the polling booths and no one would be allowed to create a problem.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath cast his vote from Gorakhpur.
आज जनपद गोरखपुर के पुराना गोरखपुर वार्ड में स्थित प्राथमिक विद्यालय पर नगर निकाय चुनाव 2017 में महापौर व पार्षद के चुनाव हेतु मतदान स्थल पर मतदान किया। pic.twitter.com/HYXLFE6f8I
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) November 22, 2017
The Chief Minister is showing personal interest in the civic polls, he was also present for the campaigning in quite a few districts ahead of the elections. These elections are important for Yogi Adityanath and the ruling BJP both at the state and the Centre as it will show the mirror as to where the party is standing.
The civic polls are also being regarded as a test for Adityanath as they would indicate the mood of the voters and what they think of the Hindutva leader and his government. They also being regarded as an important factor that will show what is the position of BJP and Modi wave ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019. The party’s victory will be like a stamp of approval for the Adityanath government.
In 2012 BJP had swept the civic polls in Uttar Pradesh, where it nailed the victory for 10 of the 12 mayoral posts. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier expressed happiness that Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporations, constituted by his government, were going to polls for the first time.