Polling for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council to elect 36 representatives from the 35 local authority constituencies started at 8 am on Thursday across the state, an official said.
A total of 193 candidates are in the fray to fill the 36 seats from 35 local authority constituencies and their fate would be decided by an electorate of over 133,000. A maximum of eight candidates are in the fray for the Allahabad seat while Badaun, Hardoi, Azamgarh, Ballia, Varanasi and Jhansi constituencies have three candidates each.
Among the main political parties, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting all the 36 seats while the main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) is contesting 32 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 23 and the Congress 21 seats.
There are a total of 923 polling centres.
The Election Commission has appointed 35 IAS officers belonging to the Uttar Pradesh cadre as its observers to oversee the ongoing election. Thirty five special observers have also been appointed for the constituencies at the request of the political parties/candidates.
The Additional Director General (Law and Order) Brij Lal said 53 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed to ensure free and fair elections. He said 22 companies of PAC have been kept in reserve.
The counting of votes will take place January 9.
The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) has a total strength of 100 members. Of these, 36 are elected by members of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (assembly), another 36 are elected by the local bodies, 8 members are elected by teachers and the remaining 8 by the graduates. Twelve members are nominated by the state governor.
Presently, in the 100-seat council, the main opposition SP has 35 members while the ruling BSP has 22. Among other mainstream political parties, BJP has 16 members, the Congress three and the Rashtriya Lok Dal five.