Picture used for representational purpose only
LUCKNOW: BJP-backed candidates were leading in initial phases of counting for zila panchayat wards in the four-phased rural local bodies elections held last month, followed by Samajwadi Party and Mayawati-led BSP-supported candidates.
Independents were leading or had registered victories in many seats.
More than 3,19,300 candidates were elected unopposed, the state election commission said on Sunday.
“This includes seven members of zila panchayat, 2,005 members of kshetra panchayat and over 3.17 lakh members of gram panchayats,” the poll body said.
As many as 178 candidates for the post of pradhan of gram panchayats were also elected unopposed.
Though panchayat elections are not contested on party symbols, political parties threw their weight behind contestants. Apart from major players like BJP, SP, BSP and Congress, parties like Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM and Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too made their debut to test waters for next year’s assembly election. Polling was done through paper ballots and counting could stretch over two days, said officials of state election commission.
The mammoth exercise began, a day after Supreme Court refused to defer counting with a rider that Covid protocols should be followed. However, disturbing visuals surfaced, showing norms being flouted at various counting centres in Uttar Pradesh. Eight polling agents were turned away from the counting centre in Kannauj’s Chhibramau tehsil after they tested positive in Rapid Antigen Tests. In Etah, there were reports of police detaining five people after supporters of rival candidates clashed.
Candidates from all parties were locked in a contest for over 7.32 lakh seats in gram panchayat wards, 58,176 in gram panchayats, 75,852 in kshetra panchayats and 3,050 in zila panchayats.
The first phase of polls was held on April 15, the second on April 19, the third phase on April 26, and the fourth and final phase on April 29. Notably, all the phases registered a voter turnout of more than 70 per cent.