Lucknow, April 19: The voting for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Elections 2021 has begun at 7 am on Monday, i.e. April 19. More than 3.48 lakh candidates are in the fray for over 2.23 lakh posts across 20 districts of the state. The polling will conclude at 6 pm. In the second phase, the polling is taking place in major districts of the state, including Lucknow and Varanasi. Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Elections 2021: Panchayat Candidate Stabbed to Death in Mainpuri.

Apart from Lucknow and Varanasi, voting is being conducted in Amroha, Azamgarh, Etawah, Etah, Kannauj, Gonda, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh, Budaun, Baghpat, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Mainpuri, Maharajganj, Lakhimpur Kheri, Lalitpur and Sultanpur districts. 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.

Visuals of Voting From Varanasi: 

The UP Panchayat Elections 2021 are taking place in four phases. The candidates are contesting on "free symbols" given by the Election Commission (EC). More than 2.31 lakh poll officials have been deployed by the State Election Commission (SEC) for the smooth conduct of the panchayat polls. 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. Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Elections 2021: Panchayat Candidate Shot at By Rival in Mahuadabar Village.

The first phase of UP Panchayat polls took place on April 15. A total of 71 percent voter turnout was recorded in the first phase of polling. Notably, it was less than as compared to the average polling percent in the 2015 panchayat elections in the state. In 2015, panchayat polls had registered a polling percentage of 72.11.

Additional Election Commissioner Ved Prakash Verma said that 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. The Allahabad High Court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to conclude the panchayat election process by May 25.

(With inputs from PTI)

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 19, 2021 08:34 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website