Lucknow, Jul 10 (PTI) Voting for 476 posts of block panchayat chiefs is underway in Uttar Pradesh, the State Election Commission said.
The voting began at 11 am and will continue till 3 pm. The counting of votes will start right after that, it said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials that tight security arrangements should be made at each block where voting is taking place.
In a statement issued here on Saturday, 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1,778 nomination papers were received for 825 posts of the block panchayat chief, of which 68 were cancelled and 187 withdrawn.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 after the formation of the party's government under the leadership of Chief Minister Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh.
'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 had 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. PTI NAV AQS AQS