Ruling BJP ‘manages’ dominance in Zila Panchayat chairpersons’ poll

Updated on Jun 29, 2021 09:37 PM IST

After the close of withdrawal time on Tuesday, the ruling BJP got 21 candidates elected unopposed in as many districts, with the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) having to content with a lone unopposed win in its stronghold of Etawah.

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) extended its domination in the zila panchayat chairpersons’ poll on Tuesday, as in a series of dramatic political developments, opposition candidates became ruling party’s members in several districts and withdrew their candidature.

After the close of withdrawal time on Tuesday, the ruling BJP got 21 candidates elected unopposed in as many districts, with the opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) having to content with a lone unopposed win in its stronghold of Etawah.

The BJP had lost to the Samajwadi Party in the elections to the zila panchayat ward members but has now stamped its domination in the indirect elections of panchayat chairpersons amid opposition allegations of foul play and misuse of official machinery.

There was some high drama in Baghpat when the BJP first looked set for another ‘unopposed’ win when the SP-RLD candidate Mamta Kishore ‘withdrew’ her papers.

It turned out to be ‘fake Mamata’ as the real SP candidate put out a video and sent a representation to the election officials claiming she hadn’t withdrawn from the race.

But, in Shahjahanpur, the SP candidate’s withdrawal was for real. The SP candidate’s withdrawal set up BJP’s unopposed win in the bastion of UP’s finance minister Suresh Khanna.

Here, SP candidate Binoo Singh joined the BJP and then withdrew from the race as SP candidate setting up BJP candidate Sangeeta Yadav’s unopposed win.

Some local leaders, considered close to former Congress heavyweight Jitin Prasada, who joined the BJP recently, described it as “Prasada effect.”

In Bahraich too, the SP candidate Neha Azeez who had been talking of putting up a strong fight against the BJP, suddenly withdrew, to set up BJP candidate Manju Singh’s unopposed win.

Here, BJP MP Brij Bhushan Saran Singh was ‘managing’ the entire election, party leaders said.

In Pilibhit, the Lok Sabha constituency of BJP MP Varun Gandhi, the SP was relying on former BJP man, Swami Pravakta Nand, who suddenly pulled out of the contest. In Saharanpur too, the opposition candidate Johnny Kumar Jaivir withdrew from the race paving the way for BJP’s Mangey Ram’s win.

On the nomination day itself, the BJP was assured of unopposed wins of 17 panchayat chairpersons. The districts where the results were known on Tuesday itself, well ahead of the July 3 elections, include Saharanpur, Bahraich, Etawah, Chitrakoot, Agra, Gautambudh Nagar, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Amroha, Moradabad, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Banda, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Mau, Varanasi, Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur.

In majority of the 53 districts, where elections would now happen, the BJP is up against candidates put up by mostly SP or its ally RLD. In 37 districts, just two candidates are in contest while in 16 other districts it is a multi-cornered contest.

The BJP had left out two seats – Jaunpur and Sonbhadra – for its ally Apna Dal. In Farrukhabad, the BJP has put up Monica Yadav, ex-wife of Samajwadi Party leader Dharmendra Yadav while in Gorakhpur, Sadhna Singh, the daughter in law of former UP chief minister Vir Bahadur Singh was declared elected unopposed on BJP ticket. Vir Bahadur Singh was a senior Congress leader. “The BJP’s attempts to force SP out of the race in Unnao proved futile,” said SP leader Sunil Singh Sajan. In Unnao the BJP had to replace its candidate Arun Singh with Shakun Singh, wife of slain BJP MLC Ajeet Singh, after the Unnao rape survivor raised objections against Arun’s candidature. Arun however is now contesting as an independent with the support of Unnao BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Manish Chandra Pandey is a Lucknow-based assistant editor with Hindustan Times’ political bureau in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Along with political reporting, he loves to write off beat/human interest stories that people connect with. Manish also covers departments. He feels he has a lot to learn not just from veterans but from the newcomers who make him realise that there is so much to unlearn

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