On Friday, headlines on both traditional and digital platforms all over India declared how the BJP had swept the Uttar Pradesh civic body elections. Janta Ka Reporter too changed from its original headline ‘Huge lead for BJP’ to ‘BJP sweeps civic body polls’ as the day came to an end.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too called his party’s win in 14 out of 16 mayoral seats as the victory for ‘vikas(development.)’ His other cabinet colleagues too joined the bandwagon in congratulating Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Efforts were made to inform the voters in Gujarat which party they must vote on 9 and 14 December this year.
BJP won 14 out of 16 mayoral seats with Mayawati’s BSP winning Aligarh and Meerut. Just like everyone else, we too failed to add the much-needed perspective to the BJP’s win in Mayoral elections. The BJP’s performance in elections for municipality and panchayat chiefs were far from being called a sweep.
For example, there were 198 seats up for grabs by parties for the municipality chiefs. BJP won 70, but BSP won 29, Samajwadi Party bagged 45 and Congress candidates won 9 seats. Independent candidates too emerged victorious on 45 seats. No sweep here for the BJP by any stretch of imagination.
For panchayat chief elections, political parties in fray were vying for 438 seats. BJP won 100 seats, Samajwadi Party was close behind with 83 seats while the BSP had emerged victorious on 45 seats. Independent candidates here had outnumbered the BJP by winning 193 seats. There was no sweep here either.
As for the mayoral elections, the BJP’s performance this year was not much different to its performance in 2012, when the saffron party won 10 out of 12 mayoral seats.
The BJP had nearly swept the assembly polls little more than six months ago, when it won 317 assembly seats. Given that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had extensively campaigned for the local body polls by addressing rallies in at least a dozen cities, the BJP’s performance for municipality and panchayat chiefs has been abysmally poor.
BJP’s political detractors are also highlighting that its success in mayoral polls may have been due to EVM tampering as the saffron party could not replicate the same success in municipality and panchayat polls, both of which were conducted using ballot papers.