Lucknow, Dec 1 Polling to 11 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council seats began on Tuesday in 72 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Teachers and graduates will elect candidates to these seats five belonging to the graduate constituency and six to the teachers' constituency.
Counting of votes will take place on December 3.
Nearly five lakh secondary and higher secondary teachers are expected to participate in the teachers' elections.
A total of 199 candidates, including 114 for graduates and 85 for teachers' constituencies, are in the fray.
Majority of them are contesting as independents.
Meanwhile, the BJP, which never really actively contested the teachers' polls so far, has, for the first time now, decided to support candidates on these seats.
The BJP's keenness became evident when the party inducted MLC (teachers' quota) Umesh Dwivedi, who is also the state chief of secondary teachers' body, along with Ajay Singh, the state general secretary of the unaided teachers' body.
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who is also the state's Education Minister, said, "We will contest all the elections and emerge victorious."
In these teachers' body polls, the electorate comprises teachers from several districts.
For instance, the electorate for the Lucknow seat is spread across Lucknow, Rae Bareli and Pratapgarh.
Asked why the BJP has decided to participate so actively in these teachers' quota polls, state BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi said, "Teachers are crucial for shaping the society's mindset. It is with this intention, we are supporting the teachers. Besides, as far as elections go, we will contest all because we believe in democracy."
The Election Commission officials said that in view of the pandemic, each voter will have to undergo thermal scanning before he or she is allowed to cast the vote.
The number of voters at each polling booth has been restricted to 1,000 PPE kits, sanitizers, face shields and face masks have been provided to the polling staff.
It is noteworthy that in the 100-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, the Samajwadi Party has 52 MLCs, BJP has 19, BSP has eight, Congress two and Apna Dal (Sonelal) has one MLC.
The teachers' have one MLC, while there are three Independents. Fourteen seats are vacant.
The term of office of the 11 seats going to polls had ended in May this year but elections were deferred due to the pandemic.
( With inputs from IANS )
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