UP Zila Panchayat ballot outcomes: SP, BSP spell new prospects for 2022 Meeting elections

Vibha Sharma
Today News Online Service
New Delhi, May 5

The results of the Zila panchayat elections are being seen as a barometer of the public mood in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Assembly elections.

The Samajwadi Party emerging at the top, followed by the BJP and the BSP has thrown open exciting new possibilities of electoral combinations in the key state that goes to polls next year.

The AAP too has managed to do well for itself in the rural bodies’ elections. According to its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, the party won 83 Zila panchayat seats with almost 40 lakh people voting in its favour in the three-tier elections for panchayats, blocks, and districts in the state.

So far as the BJP is concerned, despite severe reverses, leaders are confident of getting their members elected as Zila panchayat

chairpersons with the help of Independents who won in large numbers this time, more than 1245 of the 3,050 Zila panchayat seats, according to reports.

The SP independently won around 790, followed around BJP (around 599), the BSP (around 350), and the Congress (60). Considering these elections were not fought on party symbols (though parties had supported and issued lists), figures may vary.

While observers expect Independents and others to “eventually support the ruling BJP”, they say these elections are “a precursor to political mobilisation in poll-bound UP among ticket seekers of legislative assembly and leaders at the grassroots level and an indication of the public mood. The BJP may be able to have its way in getting its members elected as chairpersons but dissatisfaction against Yogi Adityanath Government on various fronts have come out in open”.

Sources say a worried BJP is trying to ramp up numbers with Independents to take control of Zila panchayats. Party leaders claim that due to the Corona pandemic, many of their workers and leaders could not campaign effectively. Its state president Swatantra Dev Singh was quoted as saying that “the party got its footprints in rural interiors of the state and will continue to reach out to the poor and deprived sections of society and ensure that they get the benefits of government welfare schemes”.

However, setbacks in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, the key centres of its Hindutva politics, indicate that the saffron party may have to come up with a better strategy and ideas than the traditional planks. The BJP also fared poorly in western UP, the epicentre of the farmers’ agitation. The loss is expected to lead to a resurgence of the RLD, which had been relegated to the side-line after the Muzaffarnagar riots, in the Jat-dominated parts. The party contested these elections with the SP.

Political observers say results from eastern and central parts indicate “dissatisfaction against the BJP” beyond western UP, which has been among the hot spots of ongoing farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws. Apart from the permanent protest site led by BKU’s Rakesh Tikait at Ghazipur, the region witnessed a series of ‘mahapanchayats’ supported by rural communities across the board, including Muslims, and non-farm castes.

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