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UP panchayat election 2021 ends with 75% turnout in final phase amid COVID-19 surge

UP panchayat election 2021: In Thursday's fourth phase, over 5.27 lakh candidates contested for about 2.10 lakh seats in 17 districts, officials told PTI, adding that 75.38 per cent of the registered voters turned up, a polling percentage higher than the previous phases.

UP panchayat election 2021 ends with 75% turnout in final phase amid COVID-19 surge

Lucknow: The final phase of polling for the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh ended on Thursday (April 29) with a 75 percent turnout. The last phase witnessed a group clash in Mathura and the deaths of two workers who fell ill while on poll duty. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

In Thursday's fourth phase, over 5.27 lakh candidates contested for about 2.10 lakh seats in 17 districts, officials told PTI, adding that 75.38 per cent of the registered voters turned up, a polling percentage higher than the previous phases.

In Mathura district's Barsana, eight people were injured when supporters of rival groups exchanged fire, reported the police, adding that six people from both factions were arrested.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Shrish Chandra told PTI that polling was affected for some time at the Nehra village centre before they brought the situation under control. The injured were, however, rushed to hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable.

In Shahjahanpur district, two government employees died after taking ill while on poll duty. Among them, sanitation worker Sobaran Lal complained of uneasiness and died later in hospital, District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh reportedly said, adding that the family will be given Rs 15 lakh as government assistance.

Another worker posted a video clip on social media as her health deteriorated and she was admitted to a hospital. In Kalan block too, a teacher was taken to hospital after recording a similar video. The cause of the two deaths is not immediately clear but employee associations have been alleging that several people on poll duty have succumbed to coronavirus.

In separate statements on Thursday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav demanded compensation of Rs 50 lakh for the families of each employee who has died. Gandhi referred to an allegation that there have been about 500 such deaths.

Polling took place in Ambedkar Nagar, Aligarh, Kushinagar, Kaushambi, Ghazipur, Farrukhabad, Bulandshahr, Basti, Bahraich, Banda, Mau, Mathura, Shahjahanpur, Sambhal, Sitapur, Sonbhadra and Hapur districts on Thursday.

Lakhs of candidates were in the fray for over 7.32 lakh seats in gram panchayat wards, 58,176 in gram panchayats. 75,852 in kshetra panchayats and 3,050 in zila panchayats in the state-wide elections, held over four phases amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

There were 10,679 candidates in the fray for 738 posts of Zila panchayat members in these districts. Also, 55,408 candidates contested for 18,356 posts of kshetra panchayat members, 1,14,400 for gram panchayats and 3,47,436 for gram panchayat wards in this phase, according to the poll body.

Notably, the first phase of panchayat polls took place on April 15 and the second round on April 19 recorded a turnout of 71 per cent, while in the third phase on April 26, 73.5 per cent reportedly exercised their franchise.

577 teachers on panchayat poll duty died: Teachers` unions

The various teachers` unions in Uttar Pradesh have claimed that 577 teachers and support staff died while on panchayat poll duty in the state, said an IANS report. The unions have now asked teachers to stay away on counting day, May 2.

They have also given a list of the 577 deceased persons to the Uttar Pradesh State Election Commission (UPSEC). The UP Shikshak Mahasangh (UPSM) has sent names and addresses of the 577 teachers and Shiksha Mitras.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court had sent a notice to the SEC seeking an explanation on Covid preparedness and the alleged deaths. Special work officer, SEC, SK Singh had issued a letter to all the district magistrates and district police chiefs, asking them to check the veracity of the reported deaths.

(With Agency Inputs)

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