New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: In what is seen as a semi-final to the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, polls for 58,189 village panchayats in the state have started today with voting in the first phase. Polling in the second, third and fourth phase will be held on April 19, April 26 and April 29 respectively while counting of votes will be done on May 2. 

More than 3.33 lakh candidates in the fray in over 2.21 lakh seats in the first phase for the posts of zila panchayat (district council) members, kshetra (block) panchayat members, village panchayat heads and wards. Polling will take place from 7 am to 6 pm.

For the post of zila panchayat members, 11,442 candidates are in the fray from 779 wards, while as many as 81,747 candidates are contesting in 19,313 wards of kshetra panchayats. For the gram panchayat, there are 1,14,142 candidates for 14,789 posts. For gram panchayat wards, there are 1,26,613 candidates for 1,86,583 seats.

Here is everything you need to know about UP Panchayat elections 2021:  

Districts going to polls in Phase I

Saharanpur, Ghaziabad, Rampur, Bareli, Hathras, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Jhansi, Mahoba, Prayagraj, Hardoi, Ayodhya, Sharavasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Bhadohi

Districts Going to Polls in Phase II

Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Gautambuddh Nagar, Bijnor, Amroha, Badayun, Eta, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Etawah, Lalitpur, Chitarkoot, Pratapgarh, Lucknow, Lakhimpur Khiri, Sultanpur, Gonda, Mahrajganj, Varanasi, Azamgarh

Districts Going to Polls in Phase III

Shamli, Meerut, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Kasganj, Firozabad, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Unnao, Amethi, Barabanki, Balrampur, Siddharth Nagar, Deoria, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Balia

Districts Going to Polls in Phase IV

Bulandshahar, Hapur, Sambhal, Shahjahanpur, Aligarh, Mathura, Farukhabad, Banda, Kaushambi, Sitapur, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Basti, Kushinagar, Ghazipur, Sonbhadra, Mau

COVID-19 Protocols For Polling

  • As per the order by the State Election Commission, voters will have to put up a mask and maintain social distancing. 
  • Instructions have also been issued to make circles at a distance of six-feet at the polling centres.
  • According to Additional Election Commissioner Ved Prakash Verma, COVID-19 norms would also be followed during counting of votes and PPE kits would also be arranged as per requirement.

Apart from parties like the BJP, BSP, Samajwadi Party and the Congress, among those in the race are the AIMIM, Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad's Azad Samaj Party, which are making their debut in the state. The AIMIM will contest polls with the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party The candidates will, however, contest on 'free symbols' given the the Election Commission.

In 2017, the BJP had swept the municipal polls in the state, bagging 14 of the 16 Mayor posts. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) came at distant second position with win on just two seats. At least 11 other parties had contested the polls but drew blank. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta