Panchayat elections are not contested on party lines but the results of polls for panchs and sarpanchs came as a shock for some BJP legislators whose relatives fell by the wayside.
The first phase of elections for panchs and sarpanchs were held on Sunday and the results were announced immediately after the polls. The relatives of BJP legislators Habibur Rehman and Manju Bhagmar and senior party leader Pabu Ram Jani were all defeated.
Rehman’s younger brother Mohammed Jinnah lost in Basni while Bhagmar’s nephew Surendra Baghmar was defeated in Soneli. Kiran, the niece of Jani, general secretary of the Nagaur unit of the BJP, lost in Alaay.
Independent le gislator Hanuman Beniwal’s brother was defeated in Barangaon and the losses of the kin of the BJP leaders was the main topic of discussion in Nagaur district on Monday.
This comes at a time when candidates backed by the BJP in Cantonment Board polls have lost in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The BJP received a jolt in Uttar Pradesh when none of the candidates backed by it won in Cantonment Board polls in Varanasi and Lucknow.
The party won only one of eight seats in Agra. In Punjab too, the BJP won only two of 15 seats in Cantonment Board elections in Jalandhar and Ferozepur.
Chena Ram Panwar, a social activist, said: “The defeat of relatives of the leaders indicates two things: First, people do not want power to be concentrated in single families, and second, they are unhappy with the non-delivery on promises made to them during the assembly elections.”
Commenting on the defeat of relatives of BJP leaders, district Congress president and former legislator Manju Meghwal said BJP leaders were losing their credibility. “Their non-performance in carrying out public work was reflected in the outcome of sarpanch elections,” she added.
But BJP district unit president Ramchandra Uta dismissed Meghwal’s claim, saying, “These elections are not fought on party lines, so they cannot be called a reflection on the working of the BJP. Moreover, they are very localised in nature and people vote on the basis of local bonding with the candidate.”
Commenting on her nephew’s defeat, Bhagmar said, “Division of votes in my village Soneli and solidarity of villagers of Evad (the other village in the panchayat) led to our defeat. Moreover, we could not properly convey our agenda to villagers.”