Polling for district panchayat chiefs underway in UP

Lucknow, Jan 7 (IANS) Polling for the district panchayat chiefs is underway in 36 districts of Uttar Pradesh amid tight security, officials said on Thursday.

CCTVs have been installed at polling stations to ensure the polls are not influenced by anyone and conducted peacefully.

Heavy security has been deployed outside polling stations.

Media has been asked to keep out of the polling premises and special security arrangements have been made in sensitive places like Meerut, Bijnore, Gorakhpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar and Hapur where the polling was preceded by stray incidents of violence and complaints of arm twisting by rival groups.

The high-stake elections are being closely monitored by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Saifai and sources say he has made it a prestige issue as the ruling party wants to sell a positive outcome as an endorsement of the four-year-old government of Akhilesh Yadav.

At 39 places, district panchayat chiefs have been elected unopposed of which 36 belong to the Samajwadi Party.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been alleging large-scale bungling in the polls.

Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laxmikant Bajpayi has accused the ruling party of intimidating panchayat members through officials and police to vote in the favour of its candidates.

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