3rd phase of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, single-phase polling in Punjab, tomorrow
In the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, all the necessary preparations have been made for the Third of the Seven-Phase polling of Assembly Elections tomorrow. The Single-Phase polling for Assembly Elections in Punjab will also be conducted simultaneously. The polling will be conducted from 7.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. in Uttar Pradesh while the polling time in Punjab will be 8.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M.
The Third Phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted in 59 Assembly Constituencies including 15 ACs reserved for the Scheduled Castes from 16 districts. These districts include Hathras, Kanshiram Nagar (Kasganj), Etah, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur Nagar, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur district.
During the 2017 Assembly Elections, BJP bagged 49 out of the 59 seats going to polls tomorrow, while Samajwadi Party won eight and Congress and BSP got one seat each.
There are 627 candidates including 97 women in fray for 59 seats included in this phase. Maximum 15 candidates each are vying for three seats including Etah, Mehroni and Mahoba while minimum three candidates are in the fray for Karhal seat. The total number of eligible electors for this phase is 2.16 crore including 1.16 crore male, 99.90 lakh female and 1,060 third gender voters. In all, 25,794 Polling Stations have been set up in the concerned constituencies for their convenience.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has formed an alliance with Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dal (Sonelal) and NISHAD Party-led by Sanjay Nishad. The Samajwadi Party has entered into an alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party-led by Om Prakash Rajbhar, Janvadi Party (Socialist) and Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) led by Krishna Patel and Mahan Dal.
All India Trinamool Congress has announced support to the SP, but decided not to field its candidates in the polls. Meanwhile, the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have announced to go in for the upcoming polls without any alliance.
Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has formed an alliance with Babu Singh Kushwaha’s Jan Adhikar Party and Bharat Mukti Morcha. Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad’s Azad Samaj Party has also floated an alliance with over 30 regional parties. The alliance is named Samajik Parivartan Morcha. The Janta Dal (United) is contesting the polls independently in the state.
The prominent BJP candidates participating in this phase include Ministers Satish Mahana, Ajeet Pal Singh, Jaiveer Singh, Ram Naresh Agnihotri, Lakhan Singh Rajpoot, Manohar Lal and Neelima Katiyar, Union Minister Professor S. P. Singh Baghel, former Minister Manoj Prajapati along with Hariom Yadav while the partner NISHAD Party has fielded Chhote Singh and Apna Dal (S) has fielded Saroj Kureel and Rashmi Arya.
Samajwadi Party President and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, former Minister Alok Shakya along with Jitendra Yadav, Saifurrahman, Arshad Jamal Siddiqui, Brajmohan Rahi, Arvind Singh Yadav, Pradeep Kumar Yadav, Anil Kumar Dube, Satish Nigam and Suman Maurya Shakya and Rekha Verma are also participating from the party while alliance partner Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Chief Shivpal Singh Yadav along with Pradeep Chaudhari from Rashtrya Lok Dal are in fray.
The BSP has fielded Pankaj Mishra, Alok Verma, Arun Kumar, Prashant Ahirwar, Lalji Shukla, Avdhesh Kumar Singh, Arun Mishra, Junaid Khan, Rajneesh Tiwari, Ramphool Nishad, Chandra Bhushan Singh Bundela and Shazia Hasan during this phase while Naresh Katiyar, Manoj Kumar, Mathura Prasad, Sohel Akhtar Ansari, Rahul Richharia, Kuldeep Singh, Haji Suhel, Brij Lal and Urmila Khaabri, Luis Khursheed, Vineeta Devi, Dr. Chhavi Varshneya, Umakanti and Pratima Pal from Congress are also in the fray. Suneel Kumar is representing AIMIM while former Minister Narendra Yadav is contesting as an independent candidate.
During the Single-Phase polling in Punjab, total 1,304 candidates including 93 women are in fray for 117 seats. Maximum 19 candidates each are vying for Sahnewal and Patiala Rural seats while minimum five candidates are in the fray for Dinnagar seat. The total number of eligible electors for this phase is 2,13,19,804 including 1,12,98,081 male, 1,00,20,996 female and 727 third gender voters. In all, 24,740 Polling Stations have been set up across the state for polling.
In the Single-Phase elections held in 2017, Indian National Congress secured a comfortable majority winning 77 seats and Aam Aadmi Party bagged 20 and Shiromani Akali Dal 15 seats while Bharatiya Janata Party got three and Lok Insaaf Party two seats.
While the ruling Congress and Aam Aadmi Party is contesting in Punjab on its own strength, Bharatiya Janata Party has formed alliance with former Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party have also come together to fight these elections.
Apart from Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi contesting from two seats, other prominent candidates from Congress include State Unit Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, Deputy Chief Ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Om Parkash Soni. From Shiroman Akali Dal, Five-time Chief Minister Parkash Sigh Badal and Party Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal along with the first woman President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and three-time MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur and former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia are main contestants.
Two-time Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh is leading the group of Punjab Lok Congress while BJP State Unit President Ashwani Sharma and former Union Minister Vijay Sampla are among prominent faces of the party while Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Paramjit Kaur Gulshan are taking part from Shromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). Aam Aadmi Party’s Chief Ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann, Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and Kulwant Singh are major candidates from the party while Founder of Bharatiya Kisan Union and Sanyukt Samaj Morcha leader Balbir Singh Rajewal and BSP State Unit Chief Jasvir Singh Garhi are also in fray.
The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is being used along with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at every Polling Station, with a view to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election process, as VVPAT allows the voter to verify his or her vote. The arrangements have already been made to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of elections.
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and rising cases of Omicron variant across the country, Election Commission has laid focus on COVID-safe elections with maximum participation. It is going to ensure the safety of vote and voters as both are equally and critically important in the democracy.
The Election Commission has decided to allow maximum 1,250 electors in a Polling Station instead of earlier stipulation of 1,500 electors. Accordingly, there is a major change in the number of Polling Stations in the poll-bound states of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Option of Postal Ballot facility has been extended to the electors who are COVID-19 positive or suspect as certified by competent authority and are in home or institutional quarantine along with those marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and above the age of 80 years.
As per the Election Commission instructions, the concerned Chief Electoral Officers are ensuring that every Polling Station is equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for the Persons with Disabilities.
The special facilities include mandatory sanitization of Polling Station, thermal checking of voters at entry point either by polling staff or paramedical staff or an Asha worker. At the last hour of poll, such electors will be facilitated for voting, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures.
In view of the pandemic, the Commission has decided to extend the poll timing by one hour in all Assembly Constituencies. The COVID-19 patients, who are quarantined, will be allowed to cast their vote at the last hour of the poll day at their respective Polling Stations, under the supervision of health authorities, strictly following COVID-19 related preventive measures. Proper mechanism of collection and disposal of waste or used gloves will be put in place at each Polling Station.