People at a polling station to cast their votes in Uttar Pradesh's Muradnagar Photograph:( PTI )
India's Election Commission had confined the first phase of canvassing to the virtual medium, with ban on roadshows and rallies due to the coronavirus surge in the country.
Polling began in 58 assembly constituencies in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
The polling booths opened at 7 am local time. There are 623 candidates in the fray in the first phase.
India's Election Commission had confined the first phase of canvassing to the virtual medium with ban on roadshows and rallies due to the virus surge in the country.
The poll battle in India's largest state is being led by Uttar Pradesh's BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The ruling party in the state is pitched against the opposition led by the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal (SP-RLD) combine with Congress also in the fray. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party has also been campaigning during the first phase.
There are 11 districts where polling will be held on Thursday including Gautam Buddha Nagar, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Shamli, Mathura and Agra.
The state elections are being held amid tight security with over 50,000 paramilitary personnel deployed in various constituencies to maintain law and order as the seven-phase polling gets underway.
(With inputs from Agencies)