”Till 6 pm, 11 per cent votes were cast. While the maximum 80 per cent votes were cast in Jhansi, Shravasti witnessed 64 per cent polling,” the poll panel said.
More than 3.33 lakh candidates are in the fray in over 2.21 lakh seats in the first phase of the polls for the zila panchayat (district council) members, kshetra (block) panchayat members, village panchayat heads and wards.
The districts where the polls were held include Ayodhya, Agra, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Bhadohi, Mahoba, Rampur, Raebareli, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Saharanpur, Hardoi and Hathras.
SSP (Agra) Muniraj told reporters that eight people have been arrested so far and further probe is on.
District Magistrate Prabhu Narayan Singh said he would request for repolling at the affected booth.
In Jhansi, polling officer Nirmala Sahu, posted at Jauri Bujurg, a polling centre in Badagaon block, died after she complained of uneasiness, city’s Assistant Superintendent of Police Vivek Tripathi said.
The woman died before she could be rushed to hospital, the ASP said, adding the exact cause of her death would be ascertained only after post-mortem.
A total of 11,442 candidates are in the fray from 779 wards for the post of zila panchayat members in the first phase, while 81,747 candidates are contesting in 19,313 wards of kshetra panchayats.
For 14,789 posts of panchayat heads, there are 1,14,142 candidates in the fray. For gram panchayat wards, there are 1,26,613 candidates for 1,86,583 seats.
”In this pandemic, people participated in the election and strengthened the democracy,” the CM said and appreciated poll personnel for performing their duties. Apart from parties like the BJP, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and the Congress, others in the race include the AIMIM, Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad’s Azad Samaj Party.
The AAP, AIMIM and ASP are making their debut in the state. The AIMIM is contesting the polls with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party.
The candidates are contesting on ‘free symbols’ given by the SEC.
The panchayat polls are also seen as a semi-final to the 2022 state assembly election.
The voting for the second phase will be on April 19, the third on April 26 and the fourth phase on April 29, while the votes will be counted on May 2 along with the assembly election results of five states.