By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: The UP local body election results present a picture of total paradoxes that run counter to whatever may be visible on the surface. These include a serious setback to BJP, gains by the BSP and SP to some extent, a surprise increase in the Congress voting percentage, the only party to record such achievement, and a potentially dangerous portend for these parties from the influence of Hyderabad MP Asadullah Owaisi’ in UP politics.
Despite the BJP seeking to put a halo around its performance, particularly in the mayoral elections, the party performed poorly in the local bodies in 36 out of 76 districts even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is celebrating his party’s consolidation in the urban areas by winning 14 mayor seats out of 16.
The vote percentage of BJP came down to 30.8 per cent from 39.7 per cent in the assembly elections. Similarly the vote per cent of Samajwadi party came down from 21.8 in the assembly poll to 18 in the local polls while it came down from 22.2 to 18 percent this time for the BSP. Congress is the only party which gained from 6.2 per cent in the assembly elections to 10 per cent this time. BJP performed well in mayor polls but it miserably failed in nagar palika and nagar panchayats.
BSP leader Mayawati and Samajwadi party national president Akhilesh Yadav have blamed EVM for their poor performance, pointing out that the BJP won 45 per cents where polling was done through EVM and only 15 per cent seats where polling was done through ballot papers.
Out of the 198 posts of chairpersons in nagarpalika, BJP won only 70, with the rest going to the opposition parties. The SP got 45 seats, followed by 43 independents and 29 by BSP. The results for nagarpalika councilors are all the more shocking for BJP as the party got only 922 seats, with independents winning in 4,338 seats, followed by 477 seats for SP and 262 seats for BSP. AAP won in 17 seats.
Yogi Adityanath could not ensure victory to his own candidate in his ward in Gorakhpur where an independent got elected. Similarly, deputy chief minister Kesav Prasad Maurya was humiliated in his own district Kausambhi, where the BJP was defeated in five out of six nagarpalikas. The presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who cast his vote at the Vikramaditya ward, could not ensure victory for the party candidate as an independent got elected. Similarly, union ministers Uma Bharti, Manoj Sinha, Santosh Gangwar and Anupama Jaiswal also suffered setbacks due to the defeat of BJP candidates in their respective areas.
The BJP may publicise the victory of the party in the UP civic polls to boost its campaign in Gujarat, but the fact remains that it needs to introspect why it did so badly in the local bodies poll after only nine months of the assembly election, where party swept the polls by winning 325 seats. This is all the more important as Yogi addressed meetings in almost all the districts and the party mobilised all resources to ensure victory for the party candidates. It was for the first time in UP that a chief minister was involved in campaigning for local bodies polls.
The results have boosted the morale of BSP leader Mayawati, whose party won two mayor posts in Aligarh and Meerut. And this happened at a time when political analysts were writing the obituary of BSP. Commenting on her victory, Mayawati said that had the elections been fought with ballot papers the results would have been different. She claimed that besides her core voters dalits, her party got the support of OBCs, upper castes and Muslims in cities. She said that she would work for an alliance of dalit, tribals, OBCs, minorities and upper castes for future elections.
Significantly, the BSP got two seats in Aligarh and Meerut due to a tactic alliance of dalits and Muslims to ensure the defeat of BJP. According to an analysis, the party has done well in western UP due to the alliance between dalit and Muslims. That is why the party was placed second in a number of places where the fight was with BJP.
The results of the local bodies are clear warning for Samajwadi party national president Akhilesh Yadav, who failed to address any meeting for his party candidates, who were demoralised in the absence of campaigning by the top leader. So much so that state leadership concedes that the Muslims voted for BSP in various place as there were no senior party leaders to enthuse the voters. Akhilesh, who has become the party’s national president, will have to tour the states to connect with party workers, who are still confused due to the infighting in the family. There are reports that party lost many seats due to sabotage by senior leaders opposed to Akhilesh.
The emergence of All India Majlis-e-Itihadul Muslimeen of Hyderabad MP Asadullah Owaisi in the UP local bodies election is a serious threat to SP and BSP. Muslimeen captured one nagar panchayat in Firojabad district with 26 members, 12 corporator seats in nagar nigam and seven members in nagarpalika. Similarly in Dasna nagar panchayat in Ghaziabad district, the party got the post of chairperson and six members. The victory could be yet another offshoot of the alliance of dalit and Muslims and the appeal of firebrand speaker Owaisi. (IPA Service)