Updated: March 27, 2021 9:29:42 am
The Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission (UPSEC) Friday announced the dates of the four-phase panchayat elections, which will begin on April 15. The results will be announced on May 2.
In a notification, the polling body said the nomination process for the first phase would begin April 4, while the deadline for withdrawing candidature is April 7. Nomination papers will be distributed at the district level from March 27.
“In the first phase there are 18 districts, 19 districts in the second phase, 20 in the third phase and 18 districts in the fourth phase,” said State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar, adding, “The polls have already been delayed because of corona [Covid-19 pandemic] and we had very limited time. Thus, it has been decided to complete the poll in a set period.”
The elections were due in December 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
The districts where the three-tier panchayat polls will be held in phase one are Saharanpur, Ghaziabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Hathras, Agra, Kanpur City, Jhansi, Mahoba, Prayagraj, Rae Bareli, Hardoi, Ayodhya, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur and Bhadohi.
In the following phase, the elections will be held in Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida), Bijnore, Amroha, Badaun, Etah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Etawah, Lalitpur, Chitrakoot, Pratapgarh, Lucknow, Lakhimpur Kheri, Sultanpur, Gonda, Maharajganj, Varanasi, and Azamgarh. While nominations for this phase will start from April 7, they can be withdrawn till April 11. The polls will be held on April 19.
The third phase will be organised a week later in the districts of Shamli, Meerut, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Kasganj, Firozabad, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Unnao, Amethi, Barabanki, Balrampur, Sidharthanagar, Deoria, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Ballia. Nominations will begin on April 13, and can be withdrawn till April 18.
The final phase will be held on April 29 in the districts of Bulandshahr, Hapur, Sambhal, Shahjahanpur, Aligarh, Mathura, Farukhabad, Banda, Kaushambi, Sitapur, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Basti, Kushinagar, Ghazipur, Sonbhadra and Mau. Nominations will start on April 17, and the deadline for withdrawing candidature is April 21.
The elections will be held for the post of Zilla Panchayat chairperson in all 75 districts, Besides, 826 kshetra panchayat heads and 58,194 gram pradhans will be chosen.
Recently, new rules on seat reservation during the polls were set aside following a March 15 order of the Allahabad High Court, which directed the authorities to consider 2015 as the base year for deciding seat quotas. The government moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order but sources in the government said that on Friday the top court rejected the plea.
The panchayat elections assume significance as they are being held a year before Assembly polls in the state. The elections are crucial for the BJP in the aftermath of the ongoing farmers’ protest against three agricultural laws. To stop any erosion in its support, the ruling party has said that it has been working in villages over the past month and more, holding “chaupals [village meetings]” to reach out to farmers about the steps taken by both the Centre and the state government for their welfare.
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