The voting, which will conclude at 6:00pm today (Thursday), is taking place at 25,849 polling stations and 10,766 polling centres.

As many as 623 candidates are in the fray on 58 assembly seats where polls are being held today.

As per the set norms, the campaigning for the first phase of the UP polls ended on Tuesday (8 February) at 6:00pm, marking the start of a 48-hour-long silence period.

The police have sealed the borders of the state and strict vigilance is underway to maintain peace in 58 constituencies where elections are underway.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, prime minister Narendra Modi urged all the voters in Uttar Pradesh to participate in the elections while following the necessary Covid-19 guidelines.

“Today is the first phase of voting in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. I request all the voters to participate enthusiastically in this holy festival of democracy by following the rules of Covid. Remember - Vote first, then refreshments,” read PM Modi’s tweet roughly translated from Hindi.

The 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly is scheduled to go to the polls in seven phases on 10, 14, 20, 23 and 27 February, and 3, and 7 March. The counting of votes will take place on 10 March.

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With the commencement of polling for the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s home minister Amit Shah on Thursday urged upon the people to cast their votes in maximum numbers to help elect a government which can provide security, well-being and good governance along with development in the state.

“Today is the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh. I appeal to all the brothers and sisters of this phase of polling to vote in maximum numbers to elect a government that will give security, respect and good governance along with development in the state. Your one vote is the basis of the bright future of Uttar Pradesh,” said Shah in a tweet on Thursday morning.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath (born as Ajay Mohan Bisht) on Thursday urged voters to cast their votes to strengthen the resolution of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) for a “crime-free, fear-free, riot-free” state.

Adityanath also complimented the role of the voters, saying that the ritual of polling will be incomplete without their contribution, and requested them to “vote first” before taking up any other work for the day.

“Today is the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh. This ritual of polling will be incomplete without your (voters) contribution. Your one vote will strengthen our resolution of a crime-free, fear-free, riot-free Uttar Pradesh. That’s why ‘vote first’ then do any other work,” the chief minister tweeted.

Former chief of Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, urged people to vote to free the country from “fear” as polling the first phase of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh commenced.

“Free the country from every fear- Come out, vote!” the Congress leader tweeted.

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