Lucknow, Jul 10 (PTI) Counting of votes polled for the 476 posts of block panchayat chiefs has begun in Uttar Pradesh, the State Election Commission said.
The counting of votes commenced after the voting concluded at 3 pm, it said. Voting was held from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials that tight security arrangements should be made at each block where counting is taking place.
In a statement issued here, Adityanath said there should be a system in place wherein the winning and losing candidates be escorted to their homes under police protection.
'The police force should remain extra alert and sensitive. Stringent action should be initiated against people who indulge in vitiating the atmosphere,' he said.
A total of 349 candidates for the block panchayat chief posts were elected unopposed on Friday, the last day for the withdrawal of nomination papers.
In a statement issued here on Friday, State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar had said 1,778 nomination papers were received for 825 posts of the block panchayat chief, of which 68 were cancelled and 187 withdrawn.
As a result, now 1,710 candidates will go into the elections on Saturday, he had said.
As the State Election Commission announced that candidates on 349 posts have been elected unopposed, an office-bearer of the BJP claimed that 334 among the winning candidates belonged to the ruling party.
UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh said a state of development and good governance has been established by eradicating casteism and corruption in Uttar Pradesh after the formation of the government under the leadership of Chief Minister Adityanath.
'This is the reason that even in the three-tier panchayat elections, the BJP is continuously achieving victories, which is the stamp of people's approval on the policies of the BJP,' he said earlier in a statement.
Opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress, have accused the ruling BJP of damaging democracy in the elections of kshetra panchayat chiefs and attacked it for allegedly showing 'utter disrespect' to women during the election process.
They accused the government of misusing power and official machinery in the panchayat elections.
Hitting out at the BJP government, BSP chief Mayawati alleged that there is “jungle raj” in the state.
In a tweet in Hindi on Saturday, she said, 'In the reign of the present BJP government in UP, there is no rule of law, but a jungle raj is prevailing there, under which there has been widespread violence in the panchayat polls, and there was indecent behaviour with a woman in Lakhimpur Kheri.
“This is highly condemnable. Is this their (BJP's) rule of law and democracy? This is something to ponder upon.” PTI NAV AQS AQS