On Sunday, as vote counting for the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Elections continued, there was chaos and crowding in front of many counting rooms as counting agents queued up for this especially big election counting activity. Vote counting for UP’s panchayats will take place in a whopping 829 centres throughout the province, after a huge Covid surge.

Although many counting centers saw long lines and crowded audiences, Hathras saw huge crowds, openly violating Covid-19 norms.

On Thursday, the four-phased polls for 8.69 lakh positions came to a close. In the final process, 75% of eligible voters cast ballots.

During the counting of ballots, there will be a strict curfew in effect in the state until Tuesday morning, and no victory rallies will be allowed.

This comes after the Supreme Court granted the State Election Commission permission to conduct vote counting despite fears about a Covid outbreak and the deaths of many poll workers. The Supreme Court has also requested the SEC to place responsibility for adherence to Covid-19 protocols at counting centers on gazettes officers, as well as to maintain counting center CCTV video.

Elections were conducted for gramme panchayats, gramme pradhans, block panchayats, and zila panchayats at four stages. Officials anticipate that at least half of the gramme panchayat member positions will be uncontested and that 18-20% will be uncontested.

This is the first time that all major political parties are publicly endorsing candidates in panchayat elections, effectively rendering the elections a semi-final for the Assembly elections next year.

Priyanka Gandhi slams UP govt and SEC

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a Congress leader, slammed the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday for holding panchayat elections despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, saying what is happening in the state is a “crime against humanity” and the state election commission (SEC) is “playing along.”

According to the Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, 700 teachers have died in the province, including one who was pregnant and forced to vote. On Thursday, the four-phase panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh came to a close. In the final process, 75% of eligible voters cast ballots.