Voting took place in 24 districts of the state, including in Ayodhya, which has recently seen political activity over possible solutions to the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque dispute currently being heard by courts.
Coming just before the Gujarat election next month, these polls are important for the ruling BJP and Yogi Adityanath, who has campaigned across the state with over 30 public meetings.
"I am happy that the BJP is getting a lot of support, the party will win with a huge margin," the Chief Minister told reporters after casting his vote in Gorakhpur where he is still head priest of the Gorakhnath temple.Addressing a public meeting in Varanasi where voting will take place in the next round, he appealed to voters to ensure that the BJP wins the elections.
In a sign that it is not taking the polls lightly, the BJP has for the first time released a manifesto with promises like free WiFi at prominent public places, "pink toilets" for women and free water connections to all homes.
The BJP has a strong grip on the urban local bodies in UP, especially the mayor seats of the municipal corporations. The party has always won these polls in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, and has won the Lucknow mayor's seat four straight times. The challenge for Yogi Adityanath is to match the assembly poll performance.
The campaign hasn't been without controversy. A week ago, a BJP councilor was caught on camera warning Muslims to vote for his wife in civic polls or "face kasht(difficulties) like never before".
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who lost power to the BJP, has preferred not to camapign extensively, holding select rallies and a press conference or two.
Another former Chief Minister, Mayawati, has not campaign at all even though her BSP is contesting the polls after over two decades, signaling a change in strategy from the past when the party avoided contesting local elections. The BSP was decimated in the 2014 national election and was a distant third in the assembly polls.
Voting took place for some 230 local bodies in the first round - five municipal corporations, 71 municipal boards and 154 Panchayats.
The rest of the state will vote on November 26 and 29, and the votes will be counted on December 1. Around 30 million voters are eligible to vote for more than 650 posts.
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