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Yogi Adityanath cracks first test as BJP sweeps civic polls

BJP candidate Sanyukta Bhatia, who won the Mayor seat of Lucknow Municipal Corporation, with family members at the counting centre on Friday.

BJP candidate Sanyukta Bhatia, who won the Mayor seat of Lucknow Municipal Corporation, with family members at the counting centre on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath on Friday cleared his first major test with flying colours as the Bharatiya Janata Party swept the civic body polls in the State winning 14 out of 16 mayor posts in a four-way contest. 

The BJP also secured 596 out of 1,300 municipal corporation wards, 70 out of 198 nagar palika parishad chairman posts and 100 out of 438 nagar panchayat chairpersons defeating its opponents at all levels. 

The SP, however, won 202 corporation wards, 45 nagar palika parishad chairman seats and 83 nagar panchayat chairman posts. 

Apart from Meerut and Aligarh, won by the BSP, the BJP won all other municipal corporation seats (mayors), including Varanasi, Lucknow, Ayodhya, Kanpur, Mathura and Gorakhpur. It also won Agra, Firozabad, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Jhansi, Allahabad, Bareilly and Saharanpur.

Mr. Adityanath, who led the campaign for the polls with over two dozen rallies even as SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati decided to stay away from public meetings, described it as a “historic victory,” and an “eye-opener” to those who are expecting the results of the urban polls in U.P. to have an impact on the Gujarat election.

 He credited the victory to PM Narendra Modi’s “development vision,” BJP chief Amit Shah’s “strategic skills” and the “organisation” of the U.P. BJP for taking the schemes of the State and Central government to the masses.

The BJP secured the Gorakhpur seat, upon which Mr. Adityanath’s prestige hinged, by a huge margin of 75,972 votes, its candidate Sitaram Jaiswal winning 47.2% votes, more than the combined votes of the SP, BSP, Congress, RLD, Peace Party and the AAP.

However, in an upset, Nadira Khatoon, an independent Muslim candidate, defeated the BJP in the ward election from Purana Gorakhpur ward-86, in the vicinity of the Gorakhnath temple and from where the CM cast his vote. The BJP also lost to the SP in ward-18 in Ayodhya under which the disputed site falls. The party, however, won the Ayodhya mayor seat by 3,500 votes; Gulshan Bindu, a transgender fielded by the SP, stood second.

Varanasi Municipal Corporation, in Mr. Modi’s constituency, was also secured easily by the BJP’s Mridula Jaiswal, although the combined vote share of the SP and Congress, who fought separately on all seats this time after a failed alliance in the Assembly polls, would have taken them comfortably ahead of her.  The ruling party also faced resistance in Saharanpur where the BSP gave it a run for its money losing out by just 2,000 votes in a high-scoring polarised fight.

 The SP and the Congress put up a disappointing show and could not win a single mayor seats.  Former UPA minister Pradeep Jain Aditya, contesting in Jhansi as Congress candidate, even lost his deposit. The SP, however, won 196 corporation wards, 41 Nagar Palika Parishad chairman seats and 81 Nagar Panchayat chairman posts.  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the results reaffirmed that demonetisation and GST had no negative impact on the polls. 

“...those who expected that demonetisation will impact the polls a lot… we didn’t only sweep the major trading centres of UP, but swept by a huge margin [in Assembly election]. And today’s results re-affirm that again. GST has made doing trade and business very easy. Every trader’s market has grown to the whole country, the travelling time for goods has gone down, multiple returns have been replaced with one return which also you have to file online,” Mr. Jaitley said.

The Congress was left embarrassed in its bastion Amethi and Rae Bareli. The BJP won the Amethi Nagar Panchayat chairman’s post, while the Nagar Palika Parishad chairman posts in Gauriganj and Jais were won by the SP and the BJP, with the Congress languishing in the fourth spot in the former. In Rae Bareli, the Congress managed to win the Nagar Palika Parishad seat but failed to win a single out of the nine Nagar Panchayat chairman posts.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:52:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-sweeps-up-civic-polls-bagging-majority-of-mayoral-seats/article21239310.ece

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