62 pc turnout till 5 pm in UP panchayat polls; 2 cops on duty die after falling ill

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Lucknow, Apr 26 (PTI) About 62 per cent turnout was recorded till 5 pm in the third phase of the Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls Monday, when two security personnel died after falling ill while on election duty.

Scuffles and stone-pelting were reported from Firozabad district where a man was injured.

Over 2.72 lakh candidates are in the fray for 2.14 lakh seats across 20 districts in this round of the four-phase election, a mammoth exercise held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

A State Election Commission official said 62.35 per cent of the registered voters had turned up between 7 am and 5 pm, with another hour to go before the close of polling.

The phase covered the districts of Shamli, Meerut, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Kasganj, Firozabad, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Fatehpur, Unnao, Amethi, Barabanki, Balrampur, Siddharthanagar, Deoria, Chandauli, Mirzapur and Ballia.

Among them, Meerut recorded the highest poll percentage of 69.30 till 5 pm.

Seventy-one per cent polling was recorded in the first two phases. Polling for the fourth phase will be held Thursday and the counting on May 2.

The Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to conclude the panchayat election process by May 25.

Poll-related clashes took place in Firozabad districts Nagla Pardaman and Barauli villages, officials said.

Home guard Deputy Singh (50) took ill while going to a polling centre in Shikohabad in Forozabad district. He died in hospital, a police officer said.

In a similar case, a head constable deployed in Ballia’s Bansdih area to maintain law and order during the polling died after a dip in the body oxygen level.

Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjay Yadav said Kamla Singh Yadav (50) complained of difficulty in breathing and was taken to the district hospital.

Doctors there referred him to a higher medical centre and he was then brought to a hospital in Buxar district in neighbouring Bihar, where he died during treatment, the official said.

He said it is not known whether the head constable was tested for COVID-19.

In this phase alone, 10,416 candidates are in the fray for 746 posts of zila panchayat members and 88,584 people are contesting for 18,530 posts of kshetra panchayat members.

As many as 1,16,162 candidates are contesting for 14,379 village panchayats. PTI NAV ABN NSD RDK ASH ASH