Over 20 per cent turnout till 10 am in UP Legislative Council polls

In the 100-member Legislative Council, the BJP currently has 34 MLCs, the Samajwadi Party (SP) 17 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) four.
Image used for representational purposes only ( File Photo )
Image used for representational purposes only ( File Photo )

LUCKNOW: Over 20 per cent turnout was recorded in the first two hours of polling in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council biennial elections on Saturday, officials said.

Voting for 27 seats under local authorities' constituencies began at 8 am and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was among those who turned up early to exercise their franchise.

According to the Election Commission of India, an average of 20.02 per cent polling was recorded in the state till 10 am, with Pratapgarh registering the lowest turnout at 9.60 per cent, and Basti-Siddharthnagar and Moradabad-Bijnor constituencies the highest at 32 per cent.

There are 95 candidates in the fray and polling is being held at 739 centres, according to the Uttar Pradesh chief electoral officer.

As many as 1,20,657 voters are expected to exercise their franchise in these polls.

In a tweet in Hindi, Adityanath, who voted in Gorakhpur-Maharajganj constituency, said, "For the creation of a new Uttar Pradesh, and for the victory of good governance, (I) discharged my duty by casting vote in the biennial elections for the legislative council from local authorities' constituencies."

Prior to this, he in another tweet had said, "Voting will be held for the biennial elections to the legislative council in Uttar Pradesh from local authorities' constituencies. All the eligible voters must vote for the victory of development, nationalism and good governance. Your one vote will give strength the journey towards making a 'self-reliant Uttar Pradesh'".

Voting is being held for the local authorities' constituencies -- Moradabad-Bijnor, Rampur-Bareilly, Pilibhit-Shahjahanpur, Sitapur, Lucknow-Unnao, Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Barabanki, Bahraich, Gonda, Faizabad, Basti-Siddharthnagar, Gorakhpur-Maharajganj, Deoria, Azamgarh-Mau, Ballia, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Jhansi-Jalaun-Lalitpur, Kanpur-Fatehpur, Etawah-Farrukhabad, Agra-Firozabad, Meerut-Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur.

These seats are spread over 58 districts in the state, and voting will end at 4 pm while counting will take place on April 12.

Nine MLCs from eight local authorities' constituencies have been elected unopposed -- Budaun, Hardoi, Kheri, Mirzapur-Sonbhadra, Banda-Hamirpur, Aligarh, Bulandshahr and Mathura-Etah-Mainpuri.

Two MLCs were elected unopposed from the Mathura-Etah-Mainpuri local authorities' constituency, while from the rest of the constituencies, one MLC each was elected unopposed.

Following a resounding victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the BJP has set its eye on becoming the single-largest party in the state legislative council as well by winning a majority of the 36 Upper House seats.

It is an opportunity for the saffron party to enjoy a majority in both Houses of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature.

In the 100-member Legislative Council, the BJP currently has 34 MLCs, the Samajwadi Party (SP) 17 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) four.

The Congress, Apna Dal (Sonelal) and NISHAD party have one member each in the House.

The Teachers' group has two MLCs, while the independent group -- Nirdal Samooh -- and Independents have one MLC each.

As many as 38 seats are vacant at present.

Addressing BJP workers a week ago, Chief Minister Adityanath had said it was important for the party to win the 36 seats to advance his government's growth agenda without any hurdle.

"Of these 36 seats, the BJP has won nine unopposed.

If the party wins all the 36 seats, you can assume that it will have a two-third majority in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council and have no problem in taking forward the development schemes expeditiously," he had said.

The voters in this biennial election are village pradhans, members and chairman of block development councils, members and chairman of zila panchayat, and corporators in urban areas.

MLAs and MPs are also voters in this poll.

The Congress and the BSP have not fielded any candidate in the legislative council polls, making it a straight fight between the BJP and the SP, the principal opposition in the state assembly.

Of the 36 BJP candidates, five are former SP leaders, who joined the saffron camp on the eve of the February-March state polls.

They are Shailendra Pratap Singh from Sultanpur local authority constituency, CP Chand from the Gorakhpur-Maharajganj local authorities, Ravishankar Singh 'Pappu', the grandson of former prime minister Chandrasekhar, from Ballia local authorities, Rama Niranjan from Jhansi-Jalaun-Lalitpur local authorities and Narendra Bhati from Bulandshahr local authorities.

The SP declared its candidates for 34 seats, leaving the Meerut-Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr seats for its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Prominent among those who have been fielded are Dr Kafeel Khan from Deoria, Mashkoor Ahmad from Rampur-Bareilly, sitting MLCs Sunil Kumar Sajan, Rajesh Kumar and Udayveer Singh from Lucknow-Unnao, Barabanki, and Mathura-Etah-Mainpuri seats respectively.

Adityanath has recently quit the legislative council seat after getting elected as an MLA from Gorakhpur Urban seat.

With the death of Leader of the Opposition in the council, Ahmad Hasan, on February 19 after a prolonged illness, the SP has named Sanjay Lathar to the post.

In the recently-concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the BJP won 255 of the 403 seats in the assembly, while its allies Apna Dal (Sonelal) and NISHAD party have won 12 and six seats respectively.

The SP won 111 seats, while its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal has won eight.

The SBSP, another ally of the Samajwadi Party, has won six seats.

The Congress has won two seats, while the BSP has won one seat.

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