May 3, 2021 5:31:48 am
Counting of votes for the Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh got underway across the state on Sunday. Officials said that the final results are expected to be out on Monday evening.
The State Election Commission announced that election of 1.12 lakh Gram Panchayat members, 16,510 Gram Panchayat Pradhans, and 35,812 Shetra Panchayat members was done till Sunday evening.
According to Election Commission, for 3,050 zila panchayat ward posts, there are 44397 icandidates in the fray, while for 75852 shetra panchayat wards, a total of 3.42 lakh candidates are in the fray. For 58,176 gram panchayats, there are 4.64 lakh candidates in the fray, while 4.38 lakh candidates are in the fray for 7.32 lakh gram panchayat wards as 3.17 lakh candidates have been elected unopposed. A total of 12.89 candidates have participated in the elections.
Several photographs and videos of Covid protocol purportedly being ‘breached’ on Sunday during counting of votes were shared on social media. Speaking on Sunday evening, UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said, “Counting was peaceful today. But there have been some incidents of breach of COVID protocol. We have taken cognizance of such incidents, and will take strict action. We will lodge FIRs against those who breached protocol.
Various teachers’ and employees’ associations had on Saturday announced that they will be participating in the counting of votes for the Panchayat elections. This came a day after associations had said that many teachers lost their lives to Covid-19 after they were deployed in panchayat poll duty, the associations had on Thursday threatened to boycott the counting of votes on Sunday. However, after having a virtual meeting with senior government officials, the associations announced that they will take part in counting, but with Covid protocol strictly in place.
The associations had approached the Supreme Court asking for counting of votes to be cancelled. However, the court ruled that counting should happen with strict Covid protocol. The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed counting of votes for the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections to go ahead as scheduled.
On April 27, the Allahabad High Court issued notices to the UP State Election Commission seeking an explanation by the next date of hearing on May 3 “as to why it failed in checking non-compliance of Covid guidelines during various phases of the panchayat elections held recently and why action may not be taken against it and its officials for the same and to prosecute those responsible for such violations”.
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