Campaigning for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh civic body elections ended on Monday evening for districts where polling would be held on Wednesday.
Polling in 24 districts, including for mayoral posts, would be held from 7 am to 5 pm amid tight security in phase one of the elections.
The remaining phases would be held on 26 and 29 November, and the counting of votes for all the phases would be held on 1 December. Results would be declared on the same day.
State Election Commissioner SK Agarwal said that adequate security arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the first phase of the polls.
He also held a video-conference with district officials.
The districts going to polls in the first phase are Shamli, Meerut, Hapur, Bijnore, Badaun, Hathras, Kasganj, Agra, Kanpur, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Hardoi, Amethi, Faizabad, Gonda, Basti, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Sonebhadra.
File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI
In phase one, polling would be held for five municipal corporations, 71 nagar palika parishads and 154 nagar panchayats.
In total, 230 local bodies will go to polls in the first phase, which includes 4,095 wards. There are 1.09 crore voters in this phase who will exercise their franchise at 11,679 booths.
In the first phase, 56 candidates are in the fray for five mayor seats, 901 for the chairperson's post in the 71 nagar palikas and 3,856 nominees for the 1,819 nagar palika wards.
The civic polls in Uttar Pradesh will be a key test for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as they would indicate whether the priest-turned-politician has been able to ensure that the BJP continues to maintain its popularity level.
Earlier this year, riding on the Hindutva wave, the party had secured a three-fourths majority in the state assemble paving way for 45-year-old saffron-clad Adityanath to become the chief minister.
The civic polls are being seen as a major challenge for the Hindutva leader as the outcome would reveal the mood of the voters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, political observers say.
The BJP's victory in these polls would be seen as a stamp of approval for the Adityanath government. In 2012, the BJP had swept these polls, winning 10 of the 12 mayoral posts. Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma is now a deputy chief minister of the state.
As many as 652 urban local bodies across the state are going to polls, the highest number so far.
Adityanath had earlier expressed happiness that Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporations, constituted by his government, were going to polls for the first time. On 9 May, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet had given its approval constitution of two new municipal corporations for Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan. The idea behind the decision was to provide better amenities to pilgrims.
The Ayodhya Municipal Corporation will cover the twin cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya, while Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation will look after the civic needs in the two pilgrim towns.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Nov 22, 2017 20:09 PM