Slow voting in first phase of UP panchayat polls

Lucknow, Oct 9 (IANS) Polling in the first phase of panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh was slow in the first few hours on Friday but was expected to pick up later in the day, officials said.

In the first phase of panchayat elections, which are seen as the semi-finals before Uttar Pradesh assembly polls in 2017, polling would be held in 218 development blocks. About 2.93 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise to elect district panchayat members.

Voting in 46,584 polling centres began at 7 a.m. and was scheduled to continue till 5 p.m., an official of the state election commission told IANS.

Major districts where polling was underway included Lucknow, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Ambedkarnagar, Bijnore, Moradabad, Hardoi and Sitapur.

Minor violence was reported from Mainpuri where two groups opened fire at each other, alleging malpractice.

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