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Eye on 2019, parties go solo to test waters

Parties see civic elections as an opportunity to assess their strength vis-à-vis their allies, as well as the BJP.

lucknow Updated: Nov 22, 2017 12:40 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Political parties,Bharatiya Janata Party
Party leaders, supporters during campaigning for phase 1 that came to an end on monday.(HT Photo)

Political parties in Uttar Pradesh are seeing civic elections as an opportunity to assess their strength vis-à-vis their allies, as well as the common rival—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This could be the reason why various political parties that contested the assembly elections in close alliances are now competing against each other in the local urban body polls.

The best example is that of Samajwadi Party and the Congress. Both the parties joined hands to take on the BJP, creating a buzz during the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Even though the alliance failed, its leaders claimed that the partnership between the two parties will continue till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

However, both the parties are contesting against each other in all the cities where the civic elections will be held shortly. They do not even seem to have a tacit understanding, leave alone an alliance.

Similarly, the Suhel Dev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SDBS) tied up with the BJP for the assembly polls, winning four seats. But the same party has now flexed muscles declaring its decision to contest civic polls separately.

“Our party will go it alone in the urban local body polls due to the lack of a positive response from the BJP,” said SDBS president and minister Om Praksh Rajbhar.

The Apna Dal (Sonelal), another BJP ally that shares power both in the state and at the Centre also wanted to contest the civic polls, but later announced its decision to withdraw as a mark of protest, accusing the BJP of not accommodating its demands.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) that was seen desperate for an alliance with any party before the assembly polls and is now said to be closer to the Congress has also gone solo. The party has fielded candidates for the post of mayor in around half a dozen nagar nigams, including Meerut, Ghaziabad, Agra and Aligarh where the party hopes to perform well after it was limited to one seat in the assembly polls.

The situation is no different for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that is believed to be facing an existential crisis after the assembly elections and the subsequent desertions in the party. It is after a long time that Mayawati has allotted the party symbols to its candidates in the local polls.

“The BSP sees the civic polls as an opportunity to infuse life into the demoralised cadre by giving a respectable fight to the rivals even if it doesn’t win,” said SK Sharma, a professor of political science in Meerut University.

According to Sharma, all political parties are trying to test their political strength by going it alone in the civic polls and this he said was a good thing. “There is nothing wrong about political parties assessing their position vis-à-vis their allies from time to time,” he said.

SP national president and former chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav was more than honest in accepting this fact when he said that both the parties--Congress and the SP--were testing their political strength in the civic elections.

“We are testing our might and this is a part of our strategy,” he replied when asked at a media function here last week as to why the SP and the Congress were pitted against each other in the civic elections after fighting as partners in UP assembly polls.

Does this lead to a possibility that the outcome of the civic elections will have a bearing on future alliances before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections? “It is unlikely,” says Sharma, adding “The decision of political parties going solo in civic polls should not be seen as anything more than political posturing.”


  • EVMs to be used for the first time for all the posts in all the 16 municipal corporations. Voting in nagar palika parishads and nagar panchayats will be through the traditional ballot paper.
  • No central para-military force will be used. State police alone will be deployed for the polls.
  • Election will not be held for Nagar Panchayat Bharwari in Kaushambi district due to state government not issuing notification for the same.

November 22- Phase 1 voting in 24 districts

Shamli, Meerut, Hapur, Bijnore, Badaun, Hathras, Kasganj, Agra, Kanpur Nagar, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Unnao, Hardoi, Amethi, Faizabad, Gonda, Basti, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh and Sonebhadra.

November 26- Phase 2 voting in 25 districts

Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Amroha, Rampur, Pilibhit, Shahjhanpur, Aligarh, Mathura, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad, Etawah, Lalitpur, Banda, Allahabad, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Srawasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Deoria, Balia, Varanasi and Bhadohi.

November 29- Phase 3 voting in 26 districts

Saharanpur, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Moradabad, Sambhal, Bareilly, Etah, Firozabad, Kannauj, Auraiyya, Kanpur Dehat, Jhansi, Mahoba, Fatehpur, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Barabanki, Balrampur, Siddharthnagar, Maharajganj, Kushi Nagar, Mau, Chandauli, Jaunpur and Mirzapur.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 14:22 IST