Urban India votes for BJP. Big win in UP, MP civic polls
10 out of 12 civic bodies in UP, 36 out of 49 civic bodies in MP. Congress draws a blank in UP, wins only 8 in MP
Dr SK Pandey from Lucknow
Bharatiya Janata Party’s performance in the civic bodies’ Mayoral polls in UP has stunned its political rivals in the state, especially the Congress Party, which constantly aspires to enhance its prospects in UP for ensuring its majority in forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
BJP’s resounding success is a sign of people’s liking for the party, and disenchantment from the Samajwadi Party so soon. This victory has made a foundation on which the party can build up a huge structure, paving the way for success in Lok Sabha polls. However, a lot needs to be done before it can materialise and they can rejoice, as all is not so well in the party.
Even though the BJP lost very badly in UP Assembly poll four months back, it has received a shot in the arm, winning ten of the twelve mayoral seats, with Congress failing to open its account. However, BJP has failed to win the majority in these corporations, where the majority of corporators are independents. Surprisingly, more than two-thirds corporation seats have gone to the Independents.
BJP candidates won mayoral elections in Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Agra, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Aligarh, Jhansi and Varanasi, whereas Bareilly seat went to ruling SP backed nominee I. S. Tomar and a BSP supported candidate won in Allahabad. In Ghaziabad, after late night protest by BJP supporters alleging gross irregularities in the counting of votes and staging dharna for recounting, party candidate Teluram defeated his nearest rival Sughan by a margin of 9583 votes.
Jagatveer Singh Dron of BJP defeated his nearest rival Pawan Gupta of Congress by a margin of 53,323 votes and retained the Kanpur seat. In Moradabad, BJP candidate Veena Agarwal defeated her nearest rival Humanu Kabir of Peace Party by a margin of 70,111, whereas its candidate Shakuntala Bharati defeated independent Razia Khan in Aligarh by a margin of 41,834 votes. BJP’s Satya Pandey defeated Surhita Kareem of Congress in Gorakhpur by a margin of 33,156 votes, while Kiran Raju Bookseller of BJP defeated Nirmala Bilharia of Congress by a margin of 25,659 votes in Jhansi.
In Lucknow, where BJP performed poorly during assembly elections, party candidate Dinesh Sharma won the seat for the second consecutive term defeating Neeraj Bora of Congress by a margin of more than 1,71,824 votes. After a lot of controversy and allegation levelled by the BJP regarding unfairness in counting for Ghaziabad mayoral seat, the State Election Commission directed the retabulation of the voting charts which ultimately went in favour of the BJP nominee Teluram who defeated his nearest SP backed rival Sudhan by 9583 votes. Teluram got 135911 votes while Sudhan could muster only 126328 votes.
On the other hand, the Congress’ debacle is equally stunning as the party failed to win a single mayoral seat. The ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party did not contest the urban local bodies elections on their symbols but the candidates backed by the two parties registered victories on one mayoral seat each. The Congress which had three mayors in 2006 drew a blank this time even as BJP improved upon its previous performance winning 10 of the 12 mayoral seats, two more than in 2006 and four more than in 2000.
Elections were held for 12 municipal corporations, 186 Nagar Palika Parishads and 388 Nagar Panchayats. In the Nagar Palika Parishad of the 186 posts, BJP won 41 against the Congress’s 14. The rest – 131 – were either independents or SP and BSP backed candidates. Even in the Nagar Panchayats of the 388 seats, BJP backed 35 against Congress’ 21 with 331 independents winning the polls.
These results have given a boost up to the BJP, rising with great expectations for the Lok Sabha. The BJP has 10 Lok Sabha members from UP at present.
The stunning performance of the BJP four months after the debacle in assembly polls has given a fresh lease of life in the BJP. Though the Bharatiya Janata Party has valid reasons to celebrate its resounding success in the mayoral elections, winning 10 out of the 12 seats, it would do well for the party to ponder the fact that while it kept on improving its performance in urban local bodies elections, its tally has kept sliding in assembly and parliamentary polls. The contraction of BJP in larger and more important electoral game has given it more reasons to remain cautious rather than going for all out celebrations.
The performance of the BJP in mayoral election has been stunning as it won 10 out of 12 mayoral seat, leaving out only Bareilly and Allahabad for SP and BSP backed candidates respectively. However if one look at the performance of the BJP in mayoral election the recent success does not spring any surprises at all.
In 2000 party has won six mayoral seats out of 10 at that time. It had won Lucknow, Agra, Moradabad, Aligarh, Ghaziabad and Varanasi. However when the assembly election was held in 2002 the party could win only 88 seats against 176 it won in previous election held in 1996. As it was not enough party also took a drubbing in 2004 Lok Sabha election when it won only 10 seats against 29 it bagged in 1999 election.
When local body elections were held in 2006 BJP had improved its performace and won eight out of 12 mayoral seats including Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad and Aligarh. The slippery trend continued for the BJP as it was confined to only 50 seats when the assembly election was held in 2007. The Lok Sabha election was held in 2009 and BJP again had a set back and could win only 10 seats.
The state BJP president Shri Laxmi Kant Bajpai has assured that elected representatives of the BJP will do their best to fulfill the expectations of the electorates. Bajpai said that credit for the party’s performance goes to the people and party workers. He claimed that party will now concentrate on its membership drive and enroll people from all walks of life as its members. The membership drive, with the aim of attracting youth and adding at least 20 per cent new members at the local level, would be launched from
Commenting upon the defeat of the party in assembly polls, Bajpai said that the BJP could not convince the voters that it is the real alternative to BSP, while the Samajvadi Party came up with its manifesto much earlier, making false promise to the youth and to the farmers. This was realised by the people very soon, and it was felt that the government did nothing in these four months except appeasing Muslim community. This feeling resulted in our victory, which was ensured by all the leaders belonging to UP and they all worked jointly to make it possible.
Action against rebels, and those violating discipline, too is on the cards, says Bajpai, adding that “I have already expelled 68 workers and leaders, and I hope to cleanse the party by expelling another 500 people for their indiscipline. Those who had worked against the party’s interest, either in the assembly polls or in these civic polls would be served a strong message. In fact, I am personally against admitting rebels who had contested against the party’s official candidates back into the party”.
The state president says that the BJP is also planning to opt for secret ballot system in the organisational polls, to put an end to complaints about merit being ignored in electing office-bearers from district level onwards.
The state general secretary of the BJP Shri Vindhyavasini Kumar also expressed satisfaction over the performance of the BJP and said that voters are disillusioned by the performance of the state government, and that is why they have voted for us. He added that people were deceived by the Samajwadi Party and its fake slogans. The urban population is very badly disappointed by the state government due to lack of power supply, rising prices and communal appeasement.
The debacle of the Congress party has rung alarm bell amongst top Congress leaders and if some urgent tough measures were not taken to strengthen the organisation, fate of even party Supremo Sonia Gandhi and youth scion Rahul Gandhi were not safe in Rai Bareli and Amethi respectively in the next general elections for Parliament.
Congress Party’s defeat in Amethi and Raibareli besides Sultanpur during Assembly polls was eye-opener for all true Congressmen. They failed to open account both in Rai Bareli and Sultanpur while in Amethi we somehow managed to wrest two Assembly seats. The charisma of Rahul and Sonia in Amethi and Rai Bareli seems to have failed even in local bodies’ polls. In Rai Bareli, they lost the Nagar Palika seat to an Independent, while out of the five Nagar Panchayat seats – Bachhrawa, Unchahar, Maharajganj, Dalmau and Lalganj, they have won only Dalmau. Similarly in Amethi also though they won the Nagar Palika seat, the Congress fared badly and got defeated in Nagar Panchayats of Salon, Jagdishpur, Musafirkhana and Amethi to independents.
BJP wins 36 of the total 49 municipal bodies
After impressive victory in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab civic polls, the latest victory of ruling BJP in Vanvasi dominated areas of Madhya Pradesh has proved that the urban voters of the country have rallied around the party. The BJP won 36 out of the 49 municipal bodies and gave a jolt to the Congress in state’s urban body elections. The results were declared on July 9 and 10. The Congress has been able to win only eight civic bodies, while the independents registered win in the remaining five.
Undoubtedly, the civic elections are normally contested on the local issues and personal popularity of the candidates, but this trend of victory is an indicator of the public mood in the Hindi heartland.
Assembly elections 2013 in Madhya Pradesh are not far away and a beating like the results of these civic polls would prove very costly to the Congress. One after another, the BJP has wrested assembly seats from the Congress known to have been its stronghold. Less than one month ago, the BJP won Maheshwar assembly constituency, which was a Congress bastion for decades. In February last year, the BJP snatched two of the Congress fortresses in Kukshi and Sonkatch.
According to reports, many of the seats that the BJP won were the traditional bastions of the Congress and in Vanvasi belts known to have been faithful to the latter for decades. The party also defeated the Congress candidates in Rajgarh, Chhindwara and Ratlam-Jhabua areas which are under the influence of Congress satraps like AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh (Rajgarh), Union Minister Kamal Nath (Chindawada) and Kantilal Bhuria (Ratlam-Jhabua). The biggest surprise was in store at Congress state president Kantilal Bhuria’s native district Jhabua, where the BJP candidate Dhan Singh Bariya defeated Congress nominee Ashish Bhuria in the Jhabua municipality.
History was created in Badwani Thandala and Dharampuri Municipal bodies where the BJP registered victory for the first time after Independence. In Badwani, the BJP won after 55 years. It is for the first time that the BJP candidate won the post of Municipal chairman in Badwani. Smt Kokila Premsinh Patel of BJP defeated her Congress rival Pallavi Mandaloi with 4052 votes. Smt Kokila got 13009 votes while Smt Pallavi got 8957 votes. Out of the 10 civic bodies of Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Badwani districts the BJP won seven bodies.
In the first phase results declared on July 9, the BJP routed the Congress securing 20 of the 27 urban bodies while the Congress managed to hold on to the three municipal committees at Ranapur (Jhabua district), Kukshi (Dhar) and Chhindwara. Independents scored four places including the municipal committees of Sailana (Ratlam), Lakhnadaun (Seoni), Jaisinghnagar (Shahdol) and Pali (Umaria).
Results of the second phase polls spread over 20 districts were declared on July 10 and the BJP walked away with 16 more urban bodies while the Congress lagged with wins in five bodies and one seat went to an independent.
The party celebrated the victory in the state. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan thanked all the party workers for their dedicated hard work and the Vanvasi population of the state for choosing the BJP. He said the election results have helped us realising the people’s aspirations and we will try our best to fulfill their aspirations.
The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since December 2003. Sources said the civic poll outcome had demoralised the Congress, which is hoping to stage a comeback in the state. Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh are due in November 2013. The victory of 433 BJP councillors in 733 wards showed that the party was well entrenched at the ground level. The Congress lost municipal boards. Five years ago, the party had won 11 municipal boards against the BJP’s 25.
State BJP chief Prabhat Jha said the civic poll verdict showed the popularity of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. He said voters across Madhya Pradesh have rejected the Congress propaganda that rampant corruption and rise in crimes had symbolised BJP rule. He said every worker of the BJP would work to fulfill the aspirations of the people. He said regional development and strengthening the amenities at the local level would be the top priority of the party.
Ridiculing the party’s rival Congress, Shri Jha said the election results show that the Congress neither has any commitment to the people nor it has any agenda for development. He said the people have punished the Congress heavyweights for the negative politics that they have been playing for some time. He said the Congress did no good for the people of the state as well as of the country.