The campaign for the urban local body poll in Uttar Pradesh gathered momentum with top leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) holding continuous rallies across the State.
The ruling BJP and its leaders including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath talked about national issues like how India changed after 2014 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs, in their speeches. They also discussed the law and order situation in the State and development, calling for a triple-engine government.
The SP kept the campaign on local urban-centric issues, which also manifested in their agenda document released earlier.
“Before the year 2014, India faced an identity crisis with rampant corruption; the younger population was hopeless. Our country’s respect was declining worldwide. Development was limited to the five-year plans. Our Prime Minister Modiji established a new India which is now recognised for its talent and the world looks towards India in times of crisis,” said Mr. Adityanath, addressing a rally in Firozabad on Thursday.
Other BJP leaders including the Deputy CM also highlighted how India changed under Prime Minister Modi. Mr. Adityanath in his rallies, also brought in the National Education Policy (NEP) and spoke on how the youth in India and Uttar Pradesh, who were trained and tech-savvy, could be provided with job opportunities.
Things of the past
The other major focus area of the BJP’s campaign was the improvement in U.P.’s law and order situation under the Yogi dispensation, describing riots and curfew as things of the past.
“The terror of mafia and anti-social elements exited Uttar Pradesh; smart and safe cities are developing,” said Mr. Adityanath in Mathura, while adding that prior to 2017, activists belonging to a political party used to roam around with guns to terrorise businessmen and common citizens, hinting at the main Opposition party, the SP.
The SP focused on local issues with party president Akhilesh Yadav leading the charge and alleging that the BJP had ruled almost all major municipal corporations in the State like Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur and Varanasi for long. He added that despite this, problems in these urban centres had increased manifold due to malpractices and corruption by party leaders.
“The problems of the cities are a gift by the BJP which ruled for a long time; the population grew in the last two decades but nothing was done,” said Mr. Yadav.
The SP chief released a booklet of agendas for the poll containing promises like an urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of MGNREGA, a proper mechanism for drainage-removal in cities, opening of Samajwadi canteens in the cities and making gaushalas self-sufficient.
The third contender Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) campaign was led by individual candidates and local party units who were working mostly on their own. The party hoped that a Muslim-Dalit combination would give rich dividends in the urban centres as 11 Muslims had been given mayoral tickets by the party out of 17 Municipal Corporations.
The urban body election across 760 urban local bodies will be held for 14,684 posts in U.P. including for 17 mayoral seats and 1,420 councilors posts in two phases— on May 4 and May 11— while counting of votes is on May 13.
“The terror of mafia and anti-social elements exited Uttar Pradesh; smart and safe cities are developing”Yogi Adityanath Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister