LUCKNOW: The three-tier panchayat polls, which is seen as the semi-finals before the next year’s Assembly election in the UP, could well be a wake-up call for the ruling BJP in this very significant state.
In many wards, candidates supported by the BJP have reportedly finished behind the Samajwadi Party.
Also, the performance of the candidates supported by the saffron party has been dismal in areas that have traditionally been the party’s strongholds, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, CM Yogi Adityanath’s Fort Gorakhpur and the party’s prime Hindutva seat of Ayodhya.
While the SP has emerged as the frontrunner with more than 740 supported by it winning the election, the BJP-backed candidates have won in only 680 seats out of the more than 3,100 seats that were in the play.
The Mayawati-led BSP has claimed that around 320 candidates supported by it have tasted success, while the Congress too has claimed that about 270 candidates whom it has backed have won. In more than 1,000 wards, independent candidates have won.
As per Lucknow-based political analyst and senior journalist Manoj Bhadra, “Till 2015, there were only two major players in Panchayat polls in UP, the SP, and BSP. But following BJP’s upsurge in the 2017 assembly polls and the 2019 general polls, the saffron party became the primary force to reckon with.”
Bhadra added that when compared with the 2015 panchayat polls, BJP, which was then at a distant third, is now a close second to SP. “But when compared against its performances in the last Assembly polls and the 2019 general elections, the saffron party should be concerned about its performance in the recently-concluded panchayat polls.”