There are many firsts to the recently concluded municipal elections in Uttar Pradesh. The first and in fact the most glaring one being that 14 (out of 16) BJP mayoral candidates elected were swept off to the national capital to be paraded and applauded by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and then whisked off to Gujarat to campaign for the party there. It was Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath who led this delegation. It is being viewed by the Opposition as an attempt by Yogi to get a pat directly from the PM for this feat wherein he played captain. The swearing-in ceremony which was expected to be held on December 5, was shifted to December 12, after the first phase of the Gujarat polls got over on December 8.
“Not justified at all. It reeks of dictatorship. How can you send off elected representatives of the people on party assignments even before the swearing in?” asked Juhie Singh, senior Samajwadi Party Leader. She found it totally unjustified as this, she said, has delayed the elected members from resuming the work for which they have been elected. Murmurs of protests were also heard from other political parties.
It is no secret that the UP Chief Minister had worked really hard during the past few months and played a big role in the mandate that BJP got in these civic elections. He addressed 26 rallies, planned campaign trails of his ministers and MLAs, studied and revised poll strategies from time to time.
This was for the first time that the chief minister had been so deeply and directly involved in municipal elections in Uttar Pradesh. In previous years it was the party organizational set up that handled these elections. In fact, it seemed that the other party leaders continued to follow the old pattern. No top leaders of any other political parties, including former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), campaigned for their candidates. In fact, these two leaders did not even go out to exercise their voting rights.
But Yogi had a point to prove and he did so point blank. He wanted the Central leadership to feel the impact of this victory and impress upon them about how hard he had worked for it. Though he strategically stood tall,
he smartly gave the credit for this historic win to the ‘development policies’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and able guidance of Amit Shah.
Soon after the results were announced, the Yogi government arranged to take the BJP’s 14 victorious mayoral candidates to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister. Paraded before the PM, these mayors signified how the BJP has managed to get its saffron stamp on the vital Gujarat polls. If sources are to be believed, by offering to send these winners to campaign in Gujarat Yogi wanted to register UP’s presence in the poll campaigning in Gujarat. All protocols were put aside.
“What about the two non-BJP mayoral candidates who won too. They also have to wait to assume charge when the deferred swearing in takes place on December 12,” pointed out Juhie Singh.
The civic poll results in UP were mired in controversy amid allegations of tampering of EVMs. Some quarters have alleged that it was not Yogi or Modi Magic that translated into votes but the EVM machines which have been tempered with. Prof Ramesh Dixit, professor of Political Science at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that had BJP really benefited they would also have won in the rural areas where instead of EVMs the ballot papers were used. He demanded that re-polling be ordered with ballot paper wherever the EVMs have been used.