By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: All major political parties of Uttar Pradesh are gearing up for crucial urban body polls scheduled in first week of next month. These elections are considered as semi finals for eventual Lok Sabha polls next year. Since the outcome of these polls will set the mood for Lok Sabha polls, all the political parties are quite serious in their preparations.
UP will elect new representatives in 17 municipal corporations, 199 municipal councils and 439 nagar panchayats. Significantly this time the number of urban bodies has gone up from 653 to 760. Since BJP has the upper hand in urban local bodies, the party high command is all the more serious to retain the hold of the party in these crucial polls.
There have been several meetings of senior BJP leaders to mobilise the support of ministers, MPs, legislators and all the frontal organisations beside RSS to reach out to masses to ensure victory of party candidates. As part of the program the party has launched gaon chalo, ghar chalo program to touch every house and village. Significantly party also celebrated birthday of dalit icon Jyoti Bai Phule and Samajik Samrasta week to reach out to members of OBC and members of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.
BJP workers have been asked to inform people about work done for minorities and other members of society under various central schemes. They have been asked to highlight achievements of Narendra Modi and Yogi governments. BJP leadership has directed senior leaders and Party organisation to hold small meetings at grassroot level and organise road shows to reach out to masses. On the other hand, main opposition party Samajwadi Party and it’s alliance partners including RLD are busy in expanding support base of voters by winning over OBC and dalits.
There is a realisation in the Samajwadi Party that unless vote share is increased by winning over OBC and dalits it would be difficult to challenge BJP in urban local bodies as well as in next Lok Sabha polls. That is why Akhilesh Yadav National President of Samajwadi Party raised the issue of caste census during budget session of UP Legislature. These days Akhilesh Yadav has directed Party leaders especially backward cell to organise village level meetings to sensitise people about the need for caste census for inclusive growth.
Similarly members of the Samajwadi Party Ambedkar Vahini are in touch with dalit population in villages to win over the members of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes. Earlier Samajwadi Party had organised dalit deepawali by putting lights on the statues of dalit icons now Party is celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti in a big way.
Significantly Bahujan Samaj Party is also contesting Urban Local body polls to find out the actual strength at ground level. BSP national President Mayawati held several meetings with senior leaders and Party coordinators to identify good candidates for urban local body polls.
Mayawati said that her party would contest urban local body polls with full vigour and charged BJP government of bypassing the rules for reserving seats for members of OBC and scheduled caste and scheduled tribes. Mayawati said the members of OBC and scheduled caste and scheduled tribes were not happy the way seats were reserved for them. Former chief minister Mayawati also demanded vote by ballot papers in these elections.
Congress Party is making elaborate arrangements to participate in urban local body polls and has taken lead over other political parties in announcing the list of candidates municipal council and nagar panchayats. In the absence of proper organisational network in the state, Congress is facing big challenge to put up any fight in Urban Local body polls.
In the absence of proper leadership and lack of interest of Mrs Priyanka Gandhi after worst ever performance in assembly polls last year, the leaders and workers are demoralised. That is why people are not very optimist about the performance of Congress in urban local body polls. It would be worth mentioning here the party could not win any mayoral election in 2017. (IPA Service)