UP zila panchayat chairperson polls to be held in 53 districts today
Voting for 53 seats of zila panchayat chairpersons in Uttar Pradesh will be held on Saturday after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 22 of them unopposed and the Samajwadi Party’s candidates in one, poll officials said. The polls, being held ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections scheduled next year, will be held from 11am to 3pm and the counting of votes will start after that, they added.
UP State Election Commissioner Manoj Kumar said, in a statement on Tuesday, that chairpersons of zila panchayats of 22 districts have been elected unopposed. The poll panel did not announce the party affiliation of winning candidates but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later claimed it had won 21 seats and the Samajwadi Party (SP) said the seat in the Etawah district was bagged by its candidate.
The districts where whose 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.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has accused Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath of rigging the district panchayat chairpersons elections. "The CM has crossed all limits in rigging the district panchayat chairperson elections. His undemocratic conduct has posed a threat to the constitutional institutions in the state,” Akhilesh Yadav said on June 28.
“Hijacking the mandate, the state administration forcibly prevented candidates of Samajwadi Party and other opposition parties from filing nominations,” the former UP chief minister also said in a statement.
BSP president Mayawati has said that her party will not contest the zila panchayat chairman elections and will instead channelise its energy on strengthening the organisation and expand its base before the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls next year. “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 said on June 28.
The State Election Commission has said that senior officials have been made observers in all the districts to ensure peaceful and transparent polling and counting of the votes to the post of zila panchayat chiefs.
Zila panchayat chairpersons are elected from among the elected members of zila panchayats of the 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh. 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.