UP panchayat polls: BJP in the dregs in Narendra Modi’s bastion

Lucknow,Deepak Gidwani: This would indeed be a shocker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP has lost badly in Varanasi, which the Prime Minister represents in Lok Sabha. Even the BJP candidate from Jayapur, the village in Varanasi which the prime minister had adopted, has lost.


In Varanasi, the BJP had contested 47 of the 48 District Development Council (DDC) or ‘zila panchayat’ seats. It could win only eight. The candidate in the village adopted by BJP veteran Uma Bharti in Lalitpur also lost badly.
Reacting to the washout in the PM’s bastion, Varanasi district BJP president Nagendra Raghuvanshi told reporters that the opponents won the election with money and muscle power.

The Congress did no better either in the Gandhis’ pocket borough Amethi, where it lost on all eight zila panchayat seats.

The result must also have shocked UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, too, as the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) failed miserably in the panchayat election, touted as the ‘semi-final’ for the UP Assembly election just about a year away.

Normally, the ruling party wins panchayat elections or civic bodies’ elections by handsome margins, mainly due to the fact that no one wants to antagonise the leaders connected to the party in power.

But this time it was different. Bad tidings came for the SP from all over the state, including the party’s bastions. Many relatives of Samajwadi Party MLAs, senior leaders and even of ministers lost badly.

Surprisingly, it’s the independent candidates who have come out with flying colours. The BSP, which drew a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, has also performed well in several districts.

Another surprise upstart is Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM which tested UP’s electoral waters for the first time. It won a seat in SP supremo Mulayam Singh’s constituency Azamgarh, and another one in Muzaffarnagar, which had witnessed horrific riots in 2013, giving it adequate encouragement for the 2017 elections.

The panchayat elections have also exposed the rampant nepotism in the Samajwadi Party which sponsored relatives of a large number of ministers, party MLAs and leaders.

The results must have served as an eye-opener for Akhilesh Yadav, whose political future already seems to be in the doldrums.