THE State Election Commission Monday issued notification for panchayat elections to be held in two parts, with the first leg of voting to begin on October 9.
State Election Commissioner (SEC) S K Agarwal said the first part of the polls would elect zila panchayat and kshetra panchayat members whereas pradhans (village heads) and gram panchayat members would be elected in the second leg.
The first part would be held in four phases —- October 9, 13, 17 and 29 —- and counting would be held on November 1. The nomination process will begin from September 28. The voting dates for the second leg would be announced later, he said.
Agarwal said 11.36 lakh eligible voters would elect 77,576 members of 817 kshetra panchayats and 3,112 members of 74 zila panchayat members.
Of the total voters, 51.5 per cent are in the age group of 18 to 35 years, he said.
The SEC said 78,598 polling centers and 1,78,588 booths would be set up, categorised as general, sensitive and super sensitive categories.
“A fourth category ‘super sensitive plus’ has been created for the first time where videography of entire polling will be done so that it could be reviewed in case of any complaint,” he said, adding the number of such centers would not exceed more than 10 per cent of the total number of centers in any district.
He said the state government had requested 423 companies of central paramilitary forces but it was not accepted.
Apart from 139 companies of PAC, about 3 lakh personnel from police, home guards and village chaukidars will be deployed for smooth conduct of elections, considered as semifinal to the 2017 Assembly elections in the state.
With BJP and Congress taking active part in the panchayat elections, the stakes would be very high.
While BJP has alleged that the state has purposely not announced the dates for election of gram pradhans, something that has been done for the first time, sources informed that the government has taken the plea of deciding the reservation on the seats and is likely to announce the dates before first week of November.
UP seeks dismissal of plea against 2-part panchayat polls
Uttar Pradesh government on Monday sought the dismissal of a petition filed in Allahabad High Court challenging the conduct of gram pradhan and kshetra and district panchayat member elections on separate dates. While fixing September 29 as the next date of hearing, the division bench of Justices Rakesh Tiwari and A R Masoodi also directed the UP government and the State Election Commission to file detailed counter affidavits.
Advocate General (AG) Vijay Bahadur Singh, appearing on behalf of the state government, said, “We raised objection over the petition saying that as per article 243 of the constitution, the panchayat poll process has been started, while notification for district and kshetra panchayats has already been issued.” Prashant Singh ‘Atal’, counsel for the petitioner Rajendra Maurya, however said, “Our prayer was that as per Article 243 E of the Constitution, election of village heads should be completed before end of its five-year term, which is in November. But the state government decided to hold it at later date. In the first part, it is holding the elections for district and kshetra panchayat members, whose term is ending in January and March, 2016, respectively”.