The BJP is set for a massive victory in local body elections in Uttar Pradesh, in a big setback for Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. The BJP has surged ahead with a projection of winning over 60 seats in the zila panchayat chairperson election where 75 seats are at stake. Mr Yadav’s party is forecast to win only six seats.
In comparison, back in the same election in 2016, Mr Yadav’s party took 60 of the 75 seats. Those analysing the elections, however, say the local body polls are unlikely to be any indicator of which direction the wind will blow in the assembly election next year, which will also serve as an ultimate test for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of the BJP. Yet, the local body elections are being keenly watched.
Samajwadi Party workers who held a street protest today alleging rigging in the local body election in Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad, were met with police baton charge.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about the win: “The glorious victory of BJP in the UP District Panchayat elections is the blessing given by the people for development, public service and rule of law. The credit for this goes to the policies of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the tireless hard work of the party workers.”
“The BJP has won 67 out of 75 district panchayat chairperson seats. We will win 2022 assembly elections also,” UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh told news agency ANI.
Twenty-one BJP candidates and one from Samajwadi Party got elected unopposed earlier. Uttar Pradesh has some 3,000 zila panchayat members. This election will choose chairpersons for the state’s 75 districts.
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party did not fight the local body polls.
Leaders getting elected unopposed in local body elections in UP is not new. In 2016, half of the 60 seats that Samajwadi Party won in the zila panchayat chairperson polls were elected unopposed. Mr Yadav was the Chief Minister then. A year later, BJP swept the state in the assembly election.