UP civic polls: Counting of votes underway

LUCKNOW: For the mayoral elections, the saffron party forged ahead on almost all the 16 seats from where trends were available after an hour of counting.

BJP’s mayor candidates are leading in Varanasi, Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Bareilly, Ayodhya, Sarahanpur, Aligarh.

The BSP is second leading with four seats in Firozabad, Jhansi, Agra, Meerut and Congress was leading on one in Mathura.

Counting of ballots in Uttar Pradesh civic polls began amid tight security on Friday. All the results are likely to be out by 5 p.m., a State Election Commission (SEC) official said.

Elections were held in 16 municipal corporations, 198 municipal councils and 438 nagar panchayats or Notified Area Councils in three phases starting November 22.

Some 3.32 crore people in urban Uttar Pradesh voted in the crucial polls, which are being seen as a litmus test for the seven-month-old Yogi Adityanath government.

The 45-year-old Chief Minister addressed 26 rallies, travelling to all 16 districts where civic elections were held to woo voters in the name of development, while opposition SP, BSP and Congress campaigns were comparatively low key.

Both SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati did not campaign for their candidates.

In 2012, the Bharatiya Janata Party had won 10 of the 12 corporations. A majority of the councils in 2012 were won by Independents, backed by the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which did not contest the elections directly.

Of the 423 nagar panchayats, Independents had won 352 while the BJP got 36.