The much-awaited panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in four phases on April 15, April 19, April 26 and April 29, the state Election Commission has announced. Counting of votes will be done on May 2.
The Allahabad High Court had recently asked the state government to complete the panchayat election process by May 25. The court has already asked the state government to follow the 2015 rules for seat reservation in the Panchayat elections. Earlier in February, the Allahabad High Court had asked the Uttar Pradesh Election Commission to hold panchayat elections by April 30 as it rejected the poll panel’s undertaking to hold the rural civic body elections by May 2021. The court had noted that as per the mandate of the Constitution, the election of the panchayat should have been held on or before January 13, 2021.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission has said not more than five people will be allowed to accompany a candidate during door-to-door campaigning for the panchayat elections. A letter in this regard has been sent to all the district magistrates.
Additional Election Commissioner Ved Prakash Verma said a three-member team will be formed under the additional district magistrates to ensure the directives issued by the SEC are being followed. At the district-level, the chief medical officers have been made nodal officers and stress has been laid on COVID-19 prevention. The SEC has emphasised on provision of sanitiser, soaps and water for the candidates while they come to file their nomination papers.
It has also been decided that only one candidate will be allowed to enter the room of the election officer. Similarly, during polling, the 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. Verma said COVID-19 norms will also be followed during counting of votes and added that PPE kits will also be arranged as per requirement.