The stage is set for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council elections to elect 36 representatives from the 35 local authority constituencies on Thursday. According to a communiqué issued by the Election Commission of India, the election process would be videog-raphed with the poll observers and polling officials being given strict instructions to ensure a free and fair polls.

Since the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party has been accused of misuse of government machinery by the Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, security has been tightened around the 923 polling stations and polling booths.

Commission sources said that the local policemen have been debarred from manning the polling booths and the election observers have been instructed to identify the officials, who are alleged to be helping the ruling party candidates.

The Council polls have spurred the political parties to win as many seats. While almost all the ministers of the Mayawati cabinet were reportedly camping in their respective areas canvassing for the BSP candidates, the Samajwadi Party president, Mulayam Singh was in Etawah for the council polls. The UP Congress president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi also campaigned for the party candidates.

The ADG, Law and Order, Brij Lal said that 53 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been deployed to ensure a free and fair elections. He said 22 companies of PAC have been kept for reserve duty.