Maintaining its dominance in urban local bodies, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept Uttar Pradesh municipal corporation elections, winning nine out of 12 mayoral posts.
The BJP, which improved its tally from 2007 by one seat, however, owes its victory to main opponents the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) abstaining from the polls. Both parties supported candidates from outside.
SP backed IS Tomar defeated BJP's Gulshan Anand to secure Bareilly seat. Allahabad and Ghaziabad also went to independents.
For the Congress, the only other principal party to have contested, civic elections were just an extension of its defeat in the assembly polls.
BJP's Bina Agrawal defeated Peace Party candidate in Moradabad while Shankuntala Bharti defeated Rajia Khan, an independent, in Aligarh. Similarly, Kiran Raj Bookseller won in Jhansi by defeating Nirmala, an independent, and Satya Pandey defeated Congress's Sujit Karim in Gorakhpur.
BJP's Dinesh Sharma won the prestigious mayoral seat in Lucknow for the second consecutive time by defeating Congress's Neeraj Bora by a huge margin of more than 1 lakh votes.
BJP candidates had taken an early lead over their rivals for Varanasi, Kanpur, Agra and Meerut nagar nigams while its candidates were defeated by independents in Allahabad and Ghaziabad.
Saharanpur, which was recently upgraded as a nagar nigam, will go to polls later.
The commission has not announced any results yet for the nagar parishads and nagar panchayats.
However, observers feel the absence of the SP and BSP, the number one and two parties, from the civic polls took away from the BJP's inflated sense of victory.