By Dr. Gyan Pathak
BJP has swept mayoral election in Uttar Pradesh by winning all 17 seats, which has heightened the morale and aspirations of Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath and the party’s rank and file who are now aiming at winning all the 80 Lok Sabha seats from the state in 2024 general elections. It is only one part of the political game under which lies the great difficulties which needs careful attention of the BJP leadership, or else they would be playing a losing game. BJP would have to ensure that political parties in opposition remain divided.
BJP is followed by Samajwadi Party (SP), while BSP has shown that it would very much remain in the fray during the Lok Sabha general election 2024. Congress has performed very badly, and AAP has followed them. Public disenchantments are shown in large number of wins by independent candidates. The result indicated the worsening political complexity at the ground level in urban areas of the state, triggering political churning in the state and parties have just started repositioning their respective positions in not only urban areas but also in the rural areas.
Municipals election were held in the state in two phases on May 4 and May 11, 2023 to elect 760 municipal bodies which included 17 Nagar Nigams, 199 Nagar Palika Parishads and 544 Nagar Panchayats. Though the BJP has swept all 17 Nagar Nigam’s mayoral election, it should be noted that they were able to win only 89 Nagar Palika Parishads out of 199, and only 191 Nagar Panchayats out of 544. Thus, in Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats the BJP could emerge only the largest political party having dominance on 44.7 per cent seats in Nagar Palikas, and 33.1 per cent in the Nagar Panchayat seats.
In other words, though the BJP has won all the mayoral seats of the state, their support base is not comfortable even in the urban areas where the party is believed to have overwhelming dominance. Rather, it has only a greater following in the urban areas as a single largest political party, which would have to face very difficult electoral battle. In the rural areas, the situation would be even more difficult since political parties in opposition are better placed in rural areas of the state compared to urban areas.
Let us have a closer look at the municipal corporation results. Even when BJP won all 17 mayoral seats, they could win only 812 seats for ward members out of 1420. SP won 189, BSP 85, INC 77, AAP 08, others 40 and independents 209. It clearly shows that united opposition candidates could upset the BJP’s prospects in several Lok Sabha seats in municipal corporation areas.
In 8 Municipal Corporations – Aligarh, Ayodhya, Firozabad, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Prayagraj, and Varanasi – out of 17, Samajwadi Party was runner up, while BSP was runner up in 4 –Agra, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur, and Mathura. INC was runner up in 3 – Jhansi, Moradabad, and Shahjahanpur, while AIMIM was in Meerut and an independent in Bareilly. A closer look and wards level results in Municipal Corporation reveals that in BJP could win only 27 out of 60 seats in Ayodhya, 32 out of 70 in Firozabad and 42 out of 90 in Meerut. United opposition could have upset the BJP’s apple cart in several other municipal corporations.
As for Nagar Palika Parishads are concerned, Samajwadi Party has won 35 as against 89 seats of the BJP showing that the SP is in a position to challenge the BJP in their urban forts, and there will be no walk over for the BJP. BSP is still a force to reckon with which has won as many as 16 seats. Congress has poorly performed and could won only 4 seats, and AAP is not far behind which has won 3 seats. A special feature was that 41 independents and 11 from other political parties have also won. If we look at the results for the ward members, it is disheartening for the BJP that largest number of seats 3130 had won by independents while they could win only 1360 seats. SP could win 425 seats, BSP 191, INC 91, AAP 05 and others 100.
Similar is the case with Nagar Panchayat election. Independents won 195 seats but BJP could win only 191, SP 79, BSP 37, INC 14, AAP 06 and others 22. At the ward member level, Independents won 4825 seats while BJP won 1403, BSP 215, INC 77, AAP 02, and others 111.
The result thus shows that there are largest number of independent ward members have won both the Nagar Palika Parishad wards and Nagar Panchayat wards. Even the largest number of Nagar Panchayat seats are also won by independents, which is a clear indication that all political parties including the BJP would have to work hard to get their backing for their parties. It is also indicative of an under-current of an anti-establishment ripple that can potentially turn into a wave, if CM Yogi Aditya Nath ignores it right now. SP, BSP, INC and AAP are trying derive benefit from this situation, but the division among them is their greatest weakness. Even though, one thing is clear – BJP seems not in a position to retain even its 62 seats it had won in 2019 Lok Sabha election, since its support base in urban areas are worsening, as it is indicated in the urban local bodies’ elections.
Moreover, opposition is gaining ground also in rural areas as the panchayat election of 2021 had indicated. Out of 3050 seats, Independents had won 944, while BJP supported on 768, SP supported on 759, BSP supported on 319, Congress supported on 125, RLD supported on 69 and AAP supported on 64 seats.
In brief, BJP’s political prospects in Lok Sabha 2024 election are not as good as it was in 2019. (IPA Service)