The Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) has suffered a major setback in its quest to expand its base to rural areas, in the Uttar Pradesh’s panchayat polls. BJP could not even win in the Prime Minister’s adopted village Jayapur, a part of the Varanasi constituency. Though these elections are not conducted on party symbols but BJP and BSP declared their candidates in these polls, whereas Congress and Samajwadi Party have not fielded their candidates in the fray. Bahujan Samaj Party claimed that it has emerged on the top, whereas all other parties have lost their ground at the base level of polity.
In Varanasi, BJP lost 50 seats out of 58, and the most embarrassing defeat was Jayapur village, that had been adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a lot of fanfare. The state’s ruling party, SP, took the lead in rural local bodies across the state, while the saffron party fared poorly even in high-profile constituencies, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s constituency Lucknow, where they could have won four seats out of 28.
Similarly in Deoria, the constituency of Union Minister MSME Kalraj Mishra, the BJP lost 49 seat out of 56. Although, rural polls are not fought on party symbols, however, most candidates are backed by political leaders.
The Panchayat Elections are considered as a semi-final to the 2017 assembly elections. BJP failed badly in its calculations to openly declare names of its candidates, and the move backfired on their strategy aiming to storm back into power after sweeping the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. With 403 assembly seats and a kitty of 80 Lok Sabha parliamentarians, UP is one of India’s most politically-influential state and the BJP’s emphatic victory in the state, picking up 71 seats in the general elections, was pivotal in Modi storming to power.
Lakhimpur Khiri witnessed a unique phenomena, where BJP candidates lost, but candidates supported by Maneka Gandhi won the polls. In Sultanpur, a similar trend was noticed where candidates picked by Varun Gandhi, won.
Uttar Pradesh BJP President, Laxmi Kant Bajpai, told media persons, that, it was the fundamental responsibility of his Member of Parliament to secure victory in their respective areas, and he will put up a real picture before the party leadership with detail assessment. State in-charge of BJP, Om Mathur, has convened a meeting in Lucknow, on November 3, to discuss the fallout of the Panchayat results. BJP has already accused the Samajwadi Party for misusing its official machinery to influence the polls.
BSP Supremo Mayawati, while congratulating her party workers and office bearers, thanked the electorate of Uttar Pradesh for placing her party on the top. She claimed that the margin of winning for her candidates is very high and that gives her an edge over her rivals.
Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Amethi was a big setback to the Congress but since it has not fielded candidates officially, it has a good cover up for its debacle.
Many relatives of Samajwadi Party leaders and ministers have lost the election. In Shikohabad, the grandmother of Tej Pratap Yadav (Son-in-law of Lalu Yadav) Ram Sakhi, lost the election. In Faizabad, Minister Avdhesh Prasad’s Son, and wife, could not win. In Sitapur, daughters of Rajpal Rajvanshi, lost in the fray.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhri, in a statement, claimed that, the trends of Panchayat elections have endorsed the policies and programmes of the Akhilesh Yadav government, resulting in a thumping victory of candidates having an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.