LUCKNOW: As counting of votes polled in the panchayat polls progressed across Uttar Pradesh, political parties Tuesday claimed sterling performances, apparently taking advantage of the fact that these elections were not contested on party symbols.
A senior State Election Commission (SEC) official said Tuesday evening that counting of votes was likely to continue late into the night.
He, however, could not specify on how many seats counting was underway.
The counting of votes began Sunday morning at more than 825 centres across the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Over 8.69 lakh posts were up for grabs in these polls.
Of these posts, more than 7.32 lakh seats were in the gram panchayat wards, 58,176 in the gram panchayats, 75,852 in the kshetra (block) panchayats and 3,050 in the zila panchayats.
The BJP has claimed 918 party candidates have been elected for zila panchayats while over 500 are leading.
In a statement issued here, Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Deo Singh claimed on Monday that in the three-tier panchayat election in the state, over 45,000 party-supported candidates have won the post of village pradhan, while more than 60,000 party-supported candidates have emerged victorious as members of kshetra panchayats.
"As many as 918 party-supported candidates have won the post of members of zila panchayat," he had said.
"On more than 450 seats, the party-supported candidates have taken a decisive lead," Singh had said, attributing the performances to rural development and farmers' welfare ensured by the Yogi Adityanath government in the state.
The Samajwadi Party too claimed a big victory over the BJP in the polls.
The SP claimed it had won more than half of the posts in district panchayats, while alleging the administration was not handing over certificates to its candidates.
An SP office-bearer said it has so far won over 800 seats of district panchayat members (out of total 3,050).
He alleged that BJP men are misusing official machinery and counting independent candidates as those supported by them.
The SP has not yet released the list of its winning candidates.
Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, on Tuesday claimed that in the UP panchayat polls people gave first priority to his party and said that they did a tremendous job to save the democracy by electing his party candidates.
"Even in the Prime Minister's constituency (Varanasi) and CM's turf (Gorakhpur), the BJP had to taste defeat. In Lucknow too, the BJP had to taste defeat despite misuse of official machinery," the SP chief said.
He said, "The panchayat election results showed that the BJP is now a sinking ship. Signals emanating from the panchayat polls in the state show that the BJP will be wiped out in 2022 (UP Assembly elections)," he said.
"A few days are left for the formation of the SP government and removal of the present BJP government," the opposition leader said.
Besides the BJP and the Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too claimed big wins in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat election.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said 70 candidates backed by his party were elected as zila panchayat members.
Over 200 AAP members bagged village pradhan posts, he said.
The Congress on Tuesday claimed that 389 party supported candidates have won the zila panchayat members' post in the ongoing panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, a senior party leader said.
"As many as 389 party supported candidates have won the zila panchayat members' post in the ongoing panchayat elections in the state," UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu told PTI.
He said that a large number of party-backed candidates have won the post of pradhan of village panchayats as well.
The state election commission said over 3.19 lakh candidates were elected unopposed in the panchayat election.
Votes were being counted to declare results for over 3.27 lakh panchayat posts.
The rest of the posts remained uncontested, the commission said.
Uttar Pradesh held panchayat polls in four phases ending April 29.
The election was held at four levels of panchayat bodies, gram panchayat, gram pradhan, block panchayat and zila panchayat.