The three-phase municipal elections for 652 urban local bodies in Uttar Pradesh kicked off on Wednesday. The municipal polls are being held eight months after the BJP swept the state polls. These local body elections are crucial for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who launched the BJP’s campaign from the temple town Ayodhya earlier this month.
Here is all you need to know about the UP municipal polls:
Which municipal corporations are going for polls?
For the first phase, polling is being held in Meerut, Agra, Kanpur, Ayodhya and Gorakhpur. For the second phase, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Mathura, Allahabad, Lucknow and Varanasi will go to polls and for the third phase, voting will be held for Saharanpur, Moradabad, Bareilly, Firozabad and Jhansi.
Polling schedule, electorate and polling districts
The first phase of polling began on Wednesday, November 22. The next two phases will be held on November 26 and November 29. In all the three phases, a combined 3.32 crore voters are eligible to cast their vote at 36, 269 polling booths and 11,389 polling stations. The results will be declared on December 1.
On Wednesday, 24 districts in UP went to polls for the municipal elections with voting being held in 4,095 wards over 230 local bodies. As many as 3,731 polling stations and 11, 683 polling booths have been set up for the 1.09 crore eligible voters.
In the second phase, voting will be held across 25 districts covering 189 local bodies in 3,601 wards. A total 1.29 crore voters will be eligible to vote. As many as 13, 776 polling booths will be set up for this phase.
In the final phase, polling will be held in 26 districts for 233 local bodies in 4,299 wards. As many as 10,810 polling booths will be set up and around 94 lakh voters will be eligible to cast their ballot.
The Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporation and Ayodhya municipal corporation (covering Faizabad and Ayodhya) formed under the Adityanath government are also going to polls.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had won a landslide victory in municipal polls in 2012 winning 10 out of 12 mayoral positions.The current Deputy Chief Minister of UP Dinesh Sharma had then won the position of Lucknow mayor.
EVMs and paper ballots
Paper ballots as well as electronic voting machines will be used for polls. EVMs will be employed for voting in 16 municipal corporations while in 438 municipal boards or nagar panchayats and 198 nagar palikas or town areas paper ballots will be used.
Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav abstained from campaigning rigorously and held a handful of press conferences and meetings before the elections. Akhilesh’s suffered a massive defeat at the hands of BJP in the Assembly election and despite Adityanath jumping into the campaign trail, Akhilesh did not follow.
The Bahujan Samaj Party which is contesting the municipal polls after over 20 years didn’t see party supremo and former UP CM Mayawati campaign at all. Her party finished third in the Assembly elections and for long had a policy of not contesting local elections.
The elections are being held amid tight security. However, the state election commission has said that central para-military forces will not be used for conducting polls. UP Police will manage the entire exercise.
The poll panel has, for some local body seats, allowed election expenses to be doubled for the first time in 12 years.