Lucknow | Nearly 19 per cent voters turned up to exercise their franchise in the first four hours of polling for the first phase of the urban local body elections in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
According to the State Election Commission (SEC), polling percentage of 28.13 was recorded in Shravasti, followed by 27.5 per cent in Shamli.
The polling percentage in Prayagraj was 9.68 while Ghazipur's polling percentage stood at 0.08 per cent, the SEC said.
Prominent among those who cast their vote are Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who cast his vote at a booth in Gomti Nagar here, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Gorakhpur, BSP chief Mayawati and Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak in Lucknow.
While talking to reporters in Gorakhpur, Adityanath said, "The weather is pleasant in May. I think it is God's blessing so that people can elect a good urban government and cast their votes. The state election commission has made all necessary arrangements to conduct the elections. I appeal to all to cast their votes." Speaking to reporters after casting her vote at a school in the Mall Avenue area here, Mayawati said, "Our party is contesting the polls alone. I hope that my party will get a good response and the results will be good." Asked about reports of malfunctioning of EVMs at some places, District Magistrate, Lucknow, Suryapal Gangwar said all such EVMs were replaced.
On Wednesday, police in Mathura had arrested the husband of the candidate for the post of Govardhan nagar panchayat chairman and his aide, a rickshaw puller, and seized illegal liquor from their possession.
The liquor was allegedly meant to woo voters to vote in their favour in Govardhan town of Mathura, police said.
An unlicensed rifle and gun were also recovered, Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Kumar Pandey said.
The arrested accused have been identified as Nand Kishor Sharma and his aide Purshottam.
Officials said approximately 19 per cent polling was recorded till 11 am.
The voting, which commenced at 7 am, will continue till 6 pm, officials said.
These elections will pose a key test for the parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year.
According to the State Election Commission (SEC), voters in 37 districts will exercise their franchise in the first phase of the polls to elect 7,593 representatives, including 10 mayors and 820 corporators.
More than 2.40 crore people are eligible to vote in the first phase, officials said, adding that all the posts are being contested on party symbols.
In the first phase, polling is being held for 103 posts of nagar palika parishad chairperson and 2,740 nagar palika parishad members.
The voters will decide the fate of 275 candidates vying for the posts of nagar panchayat chairperson and 3,645 nagar panchayat members.
A total of 44,232 candidates are in the fray in the first phase.
SEC officials said 85 representatives, including 10 corporators, have already been elected unopposed.
The districts where mayoral election will be held in the first phase are Saharanpur, Agra, Moradabad, Firozabad, Mathura, Jhansi, Prayagraj, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Varanasi.
Polling for the second and last phase of the urban body elections will take place on May 11.
The counting of votes for both the phases will take place on May 13.