UP panchayat polls to be held in 4 phases from April 15
PTI Photo

Lucknow: The State Election Commission has announced the schedule for the three-tier Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh. Polls will be held in four phases, beginning April 15.

The state government got a reprieve from the Supreme Court when it refused to entertain a petition filed by Dilip Kumar of Sitapur district. The petitioner had sought review of the Allahabad High Court order directing the state government to take 2015 as a base year for rotation of reserved seats. The Supreme Court refused to stay Panchayat polls and directed the petitioner to file his petition in the Allahabad High Court.

With the announcement of the polling dates, the UP Board examinations for High School and Intermediate, scheduled to begin from April 24, will be rescheduled for May first week.

Issuing the notification, the commission has enforced the model code of conduct restricting the Yogi Adityanath government not to make any announcements that affect the polls.

The rural polls will be held in four phases on April 15, 19, 26, and 29. The counting of votes will be held on May 2 to announce the results. The dates for nominations for the first phase have been fixed for April 3 and 4, the second phase April 7 and 8, the third phase April 13 and 15, and the last fourth phase on April 17 and 18. The nomination papers will be made available from Saturday.

In the first phase, polls will be held in 18 districts of the state, second phase 20 districts, third phase 20 districts again and polling will be held in 17 districts in the last and fourth phase for Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh.

In view of the second surge of the coronavirus across the state, the commission has already issued detailed guidelines. It has allowed candidates infected by the coronavirus to contest polls after following the protocol.

Covid-19 positive voters have also been allowed to cast votes during the last hour of the polling at the booth. The booth agent will wear a PPE kit and gloves and strictly follow the protocol to facilitate the voting of infected voters.

Candidates will be allowed to enter the returning officers’ office wearing masks and with only one associate. Processions have been banned in view of the second surge of coronavirus.

All polling booths will be sanitized before the beginning of the polling. Masks, social distancing have been made mandatory for casting votes. The Commission has directed the state government to appoint one nodal officer in each district going to polls to ensure proper arrangements and ensure implementation of the protocol.

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