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BJP sweeps mayoral elections in Uttar Pradesh

Author: Ashish Tripathi & TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 7, 2012
URL: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-07/lucknow/32577486_1_urban-local-bodies-nagar-palika-bjp-candidate

In what is being seen as a fallout of Anna effect and price hike under UPA II, after Delhi and Mumbai, urban voters in Uttar Pradesh have also discarded the Congress party. The obvious gainer was the BJP which swept the mayoral elections by winning at six out 12 places and was leading at four seats. As a consolation, even candidates supported by the BSP and SP won one mayoral seat each, though they do not have urban base. When compared to 2006, the BJP increased tally from eight to 10 but the Congress, which had won three seats, drew blank. It lost in Bareilly and Jhansi from where it won in Lok Sabha polls. The Congress could not even win in nagar palika and jila panchayat elections in Nehru-Gandhi bastion of Amethi and Rae Bareli.

The mayoral elections were important for the BJP and the Congress because they chose to contest it on their symbol, while the BSP and SP opted to stay away leaving on party workers to the candidate of their choice. For the BJP, the victory came as a booster after dismal performance in assembly polls held in February in which it won only 47 seats, out of total 403. The party successfully defended its bastion Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra. In Lucknow, Prof Dinesh Sharma was re-elected as mayor with a margin of 1.17 lakh votes, highest ever in urban local bodies elections in the state. But for the Congress, the decline continued after the pathetic performance in assembly election in which it won only 28 seats despite Rahul Gandhi's high voltage campaign.

 Besides Prof Dinesh Sharma in Lucknow, BJP's Veena Agarwal won mayoral set in Moradabad, Shakuntala Bharti in Aligarh, Kiran Verma in Jhansi, Prof Satya Pandey in Gorakhpur and Indrajit Arya in Agra. BSP supported Abhilasha Gupta won in Allahabad. Abhilasha is wife of Nandi Gupta, who was minister in previous BSP government. In Barielly, independent candidate supported by SP IS Tomar won mayoral election defeating BJP candidate by 18,000 votes. The BSP had not contested urban local bodies elections even in 2002 and 2006 and it is the first time that party supported candidate has won mayoral election in UP. The SP was in fray in 2006 and had won in the communally sensitive Moradabad but this time the seat was bagged by the BJP.

In 2006, while the Congress had won in Allahabad, Jhansi and Bareilly, the BJP had won at Meerut, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Agra, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Varanasi. In all, elections were held for 630 urban local bodies in the state, including 12 municipal corporations, 195 nagar palika and and 423 nagar panchayats. The polling was held in four phases. The polling percentage was around 50%. The elections in the four districts were deferred because of Lok Sabha by-polls in Kannuaj. The SP had won the recent assembly election with majority. It had performed well in the urban areas as well but decided not to contest urban local bodies elections on party symbol to avoid the embarrassment, in case party candidates do not perform as per the expectations.
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