BJP takes lead in Uttarakhand's civic body elections

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Dehra Dun, Apr 21 (UNI) The BJP has taken a lead over the main opposition Congress in the civic body elections to Uttarakhand's municipal corporation, 32 municipalities and 27 nagar panchayats, according to early trends.

A close contest is between BJP's Vinod Chamoli, Congress' Surat Singh Negi and Independent candidate Rajni Rawat for the mayor's post.

The counting of votes in the April 19 elections began at 0800 hrs this morning.

Out of the 32 municipalities, elections were not held in three -- Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath -- due to the absence of permanent population.

The ruling BJP is hopeful of securing at least 80 per cent of the seats besides the mayor's seat, and 40 of the 60 ward member seats.

The Congress has also expressed confidence about regaining the lost ground.

''The Congress will emerge as the number one party in the state. We have put forth our best efforts to win the trust of the people, by excluding poor candidates while distributing tickets'', a Congress MLA said.

A total of 3405 candidates are hopeful of winning from their respective wards. Security has been tightened to ensure peaceful counting and the administration has taken all measures to facilitate its smooth conduct.

'' Barricades have been put up and no one is allowed to enter the counting room without an ID card,'' a police official manning security told UNI.

As a security measure, mobiles, cameras, matchsticks, among others, have been banned inside the counting room.

The final result is likely to be known around 1700 hrs.

UNI PB KD RP DS1352

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