AGENCIES / WEB DESK
The process of Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh has begun today with the issuance of notification for the First Phase. The state will go to polls in seven phases from 10th of February to 7th of March. During the First Phase, the nominations can be filed till 21st and the scrutiny will be undertaken on 24th of January. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 27th of January and the picture of the electoral contests will become clear at that stage.
In this phase, 58 Assembly Constituencies including nine reserved for the Scheduled Castes will go to polls on 10th of February. These constituencies are from eleven districts of Shamali (Prabuddh Nagar), Meerut, Hapur (Panchsheel Nagar), Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahar, Aligarh, Agra, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Mathura. The Second Phase of polling will be conducted on 14th of February in 55 Assembly Constituencies while the Third Phase polling will be held in 59 constituencies on 20th of February and Fourth Phase on 23rd of February in 59 constituencies.
Fifth Phase of polling will be held on 27th of February in 61, Sixth Phase on 3rd March in 57 while Seventh and last Phase polling will be conducted on 7th of March in 54 Assembly Constituencies. The counting of votes will be taken up together along with four other states on 10th of March. Uttar Pradesh has total 15,05,82,750 electors including 15,02,84,005 general and 2,98,745 service voters. The number of PwD voters is 10,64,266. The total number also includes 8,04,52,746 male, 6,98,22,416 female and 8,853 third gender voters.
The total strength of the house is 403 out of which 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and two seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. Presently, there are nine vacancies in the house. In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and rising cases of Omicron variant across the country, the 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. All election officials and employees will be considered as Front Line Workers and all eligible officers will be vaccinated with precautionary dose.
During the electoral campaign, no roadshows, Padayatras, cycle or bike rallies and processions will be allowed till tomorrow. The Election Commission will review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly. Political parties have been advised to conduct their campaign through digital mode as much as possible. Maximum of five persons will be allowed for door-to-door election campaign by candidates. If a candidate or political party violates any of the above guidelines, no further permission will be given to the concerned candidate/party for rallies or meetings.
The Election Commission has also decided to increase the broadcast time allotted to recognised political parties on Doordarshan and All India Radio during these elections. Meanwhile, the political activities have already begun in the state with the majority of activists seeking candidature from the main political parties and various party leaders deliberating in marathon meetings to finalize their electoral strategies and formations even while giving shape to the lists of candidates.