THE RULING Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) are in a dilemma over the forthcoming civic elections in the State. Since both parties have been facing anti-incumbency, the civic elections have virtually become an albatross around their neck. RLD president Ajit Singh, prior to civic poll notification, had opposed holding the election before the assembly poll.
The SP, while issuing directives to rush through the selection of the candidates, has also directed its leaders to evolve a consensus in the selection process.
Already, there is massive infighting among ministers and other leaders at the district level. Since civic elections could be a referendum on the three-year performance of the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government, the party doesn’t want anti-incumbency to come in the way of good showing. The poll result will also be indicator of the popularity of the urban-based SP ministers.
Though largely a rural based party, during the last three years the SP has been trying to reach out to urban electorates by doling out largesse to the trading community.
The civic election will thus be first test for the community to demonstrate its allegiance to the SP. Mayoral elections in 11 municipal corporations will pose a major challenge to the party, as results in these civic bodies could send message to the people about the State assembly election.
Of the 11 crore electorate in the State, 2.47 crore voters will participate in election process. Nearly 120 assembly segments are completely, or partially, will be involved in the civic election.
The RLD has decided to go it alone in the civic polls. RLD general secretary and spokesman Anil Dubey said instructions had been issued to district units to select candidates for chairmanship and wards.
For the RLD, which of late has not been pulling on well with the SP, the civic election could be the beginning of the end of the alliance. “There is no possibility of a civic poll pact,” Dubey commented.
The western UP based RLD so far thrived on farmers’ support. But the local bodies polls are important for the party in Meerut, Agra and Saharanpur. Other western UP districts are largely rural.
However, Dubey said the party would field candidates in central and eastern UP also. “We are no more only western UP party”, he claimed.