No doubt, these results reflect local dynamics but the fact that the opposition held its own against the BJP with paper ballots may well rekindle the debate over EVMs.
Faizabad (UP): No allegations of tampering have been made but the opposition’s suspicions about “malfunctioning EVMs” are likely to be strengthened by the civic poll results here, with the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party winning the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation seat conducted through EVM machines while suffering heavy losses in rural and semi urban seats where elections were conducted via ballot papers.
The Wire analysed the election results of seven districts adjoining Ayodhya, where most BJP candidates lost the local elections, results for which were declared on Friday.
Out of 33 municipal board seats in rural and semi-urban areas of Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti, Gonda, Balrampur, Bahraich and Sultanpur districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won only 6 seats.
However, the Samajwadi Party managed to win 12 seats, the BSP 5 seats, the Congress 3 seats while independents won 7 seats.
Interestingly, on all 5 seats of Ambedkar Nagar district, women candidates – Naseem Rehana, Shaukat Jahan, Shabana Khatoon, Farzana Khatoon and Sarita Gupta – got elected as municipal board chairpersons.
In Faizabad, Bahraich and Balrampur districts, the BJP could not manage to open its account. However, in Basti and Ambedkar Nagar, the BJP managed to win one seat each, while in Sultanpur and Gonda, it won two seats in each district.
The popularity of the BJP government helped its candidate become the first mayor of the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation, but it could not help the party’s candidates in the rural and semi urban seats of Faizabad despite the presence of BJP MLAs from in those areas.
In Faizabad, Jabbar Ali from the Rudauli municipal board , Juggi Laal Yadav from the Bikapur municipal board, Rehana Begum from the Bhadarsa municipal board and Ramesh Chandra from the Gosaiganj municipal board won. All winning candidates were from the Samajwadi Party.
In Balrampur and Bahraich districts, all the winning candidates in the 8 seats of these two districts belong to the Muslim community; among them, five are women.
In the 33 seats across these seven districts, 16 women candidates got elected as chairpersons of their respective municipal boards.
No doubt, these results reflect local political dynamics but the fact that the opposition managed to hold its own against the BJP with paper ballots may well rekindle the debate on the merits and demerits of EVMs.