THE CIVIC election results in Uttar Pradesh have proved the political pundits wrong.
Written off as a marginalised party, the BJP has in the end emerged only stronger. The party, which has been doing well traditionally in the urban areas, had the odds against it this time round, specially in the face of complicated electoral equations due to withdrawal of the BSP from the fray, the Congress’ improved selection of candidates and the Samajwadi Party’s distribution of largesse to the urban voters.
On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party failed to improve its popularity among the Muslims and the traders despite an all out effort to woo the two communities. Muslims seem to have moved away from the SP to the Congress and the urban trading community has again cast its lot with the BJP.
But all was not lost for the SP. Even if the party failed to make inroads into the 12 municipal corporations, it did retain its hold on Nagar Panchayats and Nagar Parishads.
Of the 191 Nagar Parishads, the SP has won 81, BJP 37, Congress 10, RLD 03, independents 34. The SP claims 26 others who have emerged winners had the party support. Of the 414 Nagar Panchayats, the SP has won 185, the BJP 48,
the Congress 16, the RLD 6 and independents 122, of which the SP claims to have supported 37.
In 2001, the SP had won Allahabad. This time around, it wrested the Moradabad mayoral seat from the BJP but lost Allahabad to the Congress. The BJP had six mayors in 2001.
Also, the SP’s overall vote percentage, that was 15.30 in 2001 is likely to go up substantially.
Interesting, the prospective beneficiaries (people in the urban areas) of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh’s schemes, like Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojna and unemployment doles, have apparently ‘ditched’ him. Even the decision taken by the Cabinet on the eve of the election according metropolitan status to six districts failed to produce desired results.
The Congress has improved from one to three so far as mayoral results go. While all the Congress nominees lost in Amethi (Sultanpur), the party has, however, improved its showing winning three out of nine municipalities.
Also, its nominee Manzoor Ahmad did manage to give a tough fight to BJP candidate Dr Dinesh Sharma in Lucknow, the Lok Sabha constituency of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Five women have won the mayoral seats. There was only one mayoress during the previous term.
It may be noteworthy that most parties went into the civic election, dubbed as the dress rehearsal for the bigger battle ahead next year, rather reluctantly as they did not want to risk demoralisation in the party ranks.
Little wonders then there were immediate moves to keep the party morale flying high.
SP general secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav claimed that his party had a reason to be happy over the results in nagar panchayats and nagar parishads as its vote percentage had gone up.
State BJP president Keshari Nath Tripathi and leader of the BJP Legislature Party Lalji Tandon claimed that the results showed that only the BJP could offer a tough fight to the SP in the assembly elections.
Congress leader Pramod Tiwari claimed that the party was on a comeback trail as its vote percentage had gone up and the party’s performance in Vidhan Sabha elections would be amazing.
BSP’s Swami Prasad Maurya said 85 per cent of the winning Independent candidates were supported by his party, a fact which can’t be immediate accepted or confirmed.