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UP civic polls counting begins; BJP hopes to reaffirm political dominance

Uttar Pradesh civic polls: The last round of polling on Wednesday saw the highest turnout as more than 58.72 per cent votes were polled

BS Web Team/IANS 

Yogi Adityanath, UP, UP civic polls
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath flashes victory sign after casting his vote for the local bodies elections in Gorakhpur. (Photo: PTI)

The results of the three-phase municipal elections or 652 urban local body polls in Uttar Pradesh will be declared on Friday from 8 am onwards. This election is a testing ground for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s new government as winning will prove his ground in the state and give a boost to the ruling party before the upcoming Gujarat assembly polls. The CM has himself campaigned across 16 local bodies, starting from Ayodhya, to ensure BJP’s victory in the three-phase civic body polls.

The last round of polling on Wednesday saw the highest turnout as more than 58.72 per cent votes were polled, officials said.

According to the State Election Commission officials, the voting percentage this time in these 26 districts, was seven per cent more than the urban body polls in 2012.

The highest balloting was recorded in Kanpur rural where 73.46 per cent votes were cast. Second highest polling was witnessed in Maharajganj where 72.92 per cent votes were cast.

Barring few incidents of violence, protests and baton charges by police, the polling passed off peacefully and repolling was not ordered at any place.

In the first round of polling on November 22, 52.59 per cent polling was recorded while the second phase on November 26, saw a meagre 49.30 per cent turnout.

On Wednesday, Saharanpur saw 67.28 per cent polling, Baghpat 67.14, Bulandshahr 62.68, Moradabad 48.47, Sambhal 57.18, Bareilly 53.17, Firozabad 55.74 and in the Samajwadi Party (SP) strongholds of Etah, Kannauj and Auraiyya, the turnout was 57.56, 67.38 and 63.4 per cent respectively.

Voting took place for 233 urban bodies spread across 26 districts of the state. Five municipal corporations also went up for vote to elect their new mayors.

Violence was reported from Moradabad where angered by reports of bogus voting people created ruckus at Thakurdwara polling booth. Three women, clad in burqas were detained by the police and were found to be involved in bogus voting. They were arrested later.

At many polling booths in Saharanpur, people raised slogans and targeted the officials after their names were found missing from the voters list.

Police had to use mild force to disperse the unruly mob there, an official told IANS.

Bogus voting was also been reported from some places in Baghpat, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr districts of western Uttar Pradesh. Polling elsewhere has been peaceful, said State Election Commission officials informed.

A large number of young men and women turned up to vote for the urban body polls in the third phase of the crucial elections, which are being seen as a referendum of government's performance the last seven months. It is also a litmus test for Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress.

While victory in some municipal corporations for Congress could act as a morale booster ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls, wins at some places could also signal a comeback for the SP which was humbled by the with a massive win in the state assembly polls earlier this year.

The BSP, which has been at the sidelines of in the state ever since it lost power to SP in 2012 and lost two successive elections - 2014 general elections and the 2017 state assembly elections, is contesting the urban body polls for the first time on party symbol. This is being seen as a desperate bid by the BSP supremo Mayawati to be relevant in the state, which she ruled four times.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also making its maiden appearance in the urban polls and is expecting some inroads. It has pitched majorly in Lucknow and Kanpur. Vaibhav Maheshwari, state spokesman of the party told IANS on Wednesday that the results would be good for the AAP.

More than 94 lakh voters voted in the final phase and 28,135 candidates were in the fray. Voting took place for five municipal corporations, 76 Nagar Palika Parishads and 152 Nagar Panchayats. For smooth voting, an official told IANS that 3,599 polling booths and 10,817 polling centres have been made.

The five municipal corporations where polling is taking place include Moradabad, Bareilly, Saharanpur, Jhansi and Firozabad. There are 74 candidates for mayoral post in these five places, and 3,175 candidates for 350 corporation seats. Maximum number of candidates for a mayoral seat were 22 in Bareilly.

First Published: Fri, December 01 2017. 08:21 IST