LUCKNOW: Counting of votes for the zila panchayat chairman posts in 53 districts of Uttar Pradesh is underway, the State Election Commission said.
The polling began at 11 am on Saturday and continued till 3 pm and the counting of votes began right after that, it said.
Meanwhile, a video has gone viral on social media where former Samajwadi Party MP from Chandauli Ramkishun Yadav can be seen falling at the feet of voters (elected members of zila panchayat) to allegedly seek votes for his nephew, prompting the UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi to take a jibe at his party.
In a tweet in Hindi, Tripathi said, "Those (SP) who fled in the last elections (2017 and 2019) were seen falling at the feet of voters and begging for votes. This took place on Friday night."
He also shared the video.
SP MLC Ashutosh Sinha said Yadav only touched the feet of independent voters.
"Tej Narayan Yadav is the nephew of Ramkishun Yadav. Tej Narayan is supported by the SP for the post of zila panchayat chairperson," he told PTI.
Chairpersons of 22 zila panchayats in 22 districts of the state were declared elected unopposed on Tuesday.
Of these, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 21 seats, while the Samajwadi Party grabbed one seat in Etawah.
The poll panel did not announce the party affiliation of the winning candidates but the BJP later claimed victory over 21 seats and the SP over one seat of the Etawah district.
The panchayat polls or those for district panchayat chiefs are not held on a party basis but candidates enjoy the tacit support of various parties.
The districts where zila panchayat chairpersons won unopposed are Saharanpur, Bahraich, Etawah, Chitrakoot, Agra, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Moradabad, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Banda, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Mau, Varanasi, Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur.
Zila panchayat chairpersons are elected from among the elected members of zila panchayats of various districts.
The four-phase panchayat polls concluded in the state last month.
On Monday, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had said her party has decided not to contest the zila panchayat chairman elections as it wants to channelise its energy on strengthening the organisation before the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls next year.
The BSP president asserted that the people of the state want her party to form the next government and said she will go to polls with the slogan 'Uttar Pradesh ko bachana hai, bachana hai, sarvjan ko bachana hai, bachana hai, BSP ko satta mein lana hai, zaroor lana hai' (We need to save Uttar Pradesh and save everyone and bring back BSP to power).
Instead of contesting the zila parishad chairman elections, the party has decided to concentrate on strengthening the party organisation and expand the base, Mayawati had told newspersons.
Once the BSP forms its government in the state, the majority of the zila panchayat chairman themselves will join the BSP as they cannot function without power.
We have kept this fact in mind and so decided not to contest the election, she had said.