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BJP Registers Comprehensive Win Over Rival Parties in UP Civic Polls

Setback for Congress and Samajwadi Party but BSP wins mayoral seat in Aligarh.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputies Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP state president Mahendra Nath Pandey celebrate the victory of the party in the state civic body elections at the party office in Lucknow on Friday. Credit: PTI Photo by Nand Kumar

Lucknow: The ruling BJP swept the Uttar Pradesh civic polls, winning nine of the ten mayoral seats for which results were declared till Friday evening while leading in six others where counting was in progress.

The opposition Congress again fared poorly, including in its bastion of Amethi, while the Bahujan Samaj Party had some reason to cheer as its candidate snatched the Aligarh mayoral seat, a traditional BJP stronghold.

In what was being dubbed as Yogi Adityanath’s first electoral test after he became chief minister, the BJP won several prestigious mayoral seats including Ayodhya, Varanasi, Lucknow and Gorakhpur, and was leading in several others.

In Ayodhya, BJP’s Rishikesh Upadhyay secured 44,642 votes and defeated his nearest rival, the SP’s Gulshan Bindu, a transgender candidate, by 3,601 votes.

In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, BJP candidate Mridula Jaiswal defeating her nearest opponent, Shalini of the Congress by a comfortable margin of 78,843 votes.

In Lucknow, the BJP’s Sanyukta Bhatia became the first woman mayor of the state capital, defeating her nearest rival, the Samajwadi Party’s Meera Vardhan, by a huge margin of 1,31,356 votes.

In Gorakhpur, the home turf of Chief Minister Adityanath, BJP candidate Sitaram Jaiswal defeated Rahul Gupta of the SP by 75,823 votes.

In western UP’s Moradabad, BJP candidate Vinod Agarwal edged past the Congress’s Rizvan Qureishi by a margin of 22,635 votes.

In Saharanpur too, BJP candidate Madan Walia fended off the challenge from BSP rival Fazlurehman to win by 2,000 votes.

The saffron party’s Mukesh won the Mathura-Vrindavan seat, defeating nearest rival Mohan Singh of the Congress by 22,108 votes.

The Adityanath government, soon after assuming office in March, had constituted two municipal corporations of Ayodhya and Vrindavan-Mathura.

The BJP’s Ramtirth Singhal won the Jhansi seat, defeating Brijendra Kumar Vyas of the BSP by a margin of 16,373 votes. The contest is seen as a setback for the Congress, which had fielded former Union minister Pradip Jain Aditya, who finished third.

The BJP also won in Firozabad, where its candidate Nutan Rathore, defeated Masroor Fatima of the All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) by a margin of 42,396 votes.

In Bareilly, Umesh Gautam of the BJP trounced Iqbal Singh Tomar of the SP by 12,784 votes.

In Aligarh, however, the BSP’s Mohammad Furqan wrested the saffron stronghold, defeating the BJP’s Rajiv Agarwal by a margin of 11,990 votes in what was virtually a direct fight.

Chief Minister Adityanath, who went on a whirl wind tour of the state to ensure the victory of his party candidates, described Friday’s results as a “historic win”.

He attributed the victory to Prime Minister Modi’s “vision” and BJP chief Amit Shah’s “guidance”.

Now the BJP will now look forward to achieving the goal of hundred per cent success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he added. Adityanath said that the Congress had been wiped out in its bastion Amethi.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the results of the Uttar Pradesh civic polls reaffirmed people’s support for the GST, which he said has made doing business “easier” for traders.

A major blow was dealt to the Congress, particularly Rahul Gandhi, as reports from the UP civic polls confirmed a massive win for the BJP in Amethi.

The Congress lost in Jais and Gauriganj, where nagar palika polls were held. In Amethi and Musafirkhana, where nagar panchayat polls were held, the party had not fielded candidates.

From Gauriganj, the SP’s Rajpati Devi won, defeating nearest rival BSP nominee Tara Devi by a margin of 1,395 votes, while in Jais, the BJP’s Mahesh Sonkar was leading.

The Musafirkhana seat was won by independent Brijesh Agrihari while the Amethi seat was won by BJP candidate Chandra Devi.

Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma said the people of the state had shown full faith in the BJP while discarding the SP, the BSP and the Congress.

“The SP, the BSP and the Congress contested the polls as each other’s relatives. (SP chief) Akhilesh Yadav and (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi, who were together during assembly polls as ‘UP ke ladke’ have become like the “punctured” tyre and tube of a cycle,” Sharma said, taking a jibe at the Samajwadi’s election symbol. He dismissed charges of electronic vote machine (EVM)  tampering as baseless.

“There was no shortcoming in EVMs, but it’s in their minds and party. They worked for a particular caste and people have discarded them. We are working for all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion and that has been accepted by the people,” Sharma said.

SP leader and MLC Rajpal Kashyap said it was “disheartening to note that the BJP gained in places where EVMs were used”. The SP is closely analysing the results, he said.

These elections are being viewed as a litmus test for the SP, BSP and Congress as well.

The BSP contested the urban body polls for the first time on its party symbol, seen as an attempt by its chief Mayawati to stay relevant in a state she has ruled four times.

The state polled in three phases on November 22, 26 and 29 and the counting of ballots was held under tight security cover and CCTV surveillance at 334 centres in district and tehsil headquarters, the state election commission said.

Polling was held for 16 nagar nigams, 198 nagar palika parishads and 438 nagar panchayats with an average turnout of all the three phases estimated at 52.5% of the 3.32 crore voters.