UP Panchayat Polls Give BJP Yet Another Jolt, But Party Proclaims Victory Anyway

While key leaders maintain silence, the party's publicity machinery is busy claiming a victory.

Lucknow: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party was yet to come to terms with the blow it received in West Bengal, what seems to have come as yet another bolt from the blue was the poor showing at the recently concluded panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.

That the BJP was just not prepared for this is visible from the BJP camp’s silence – some of their its leaders appear to have gone into hibernation. Even UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has not reacted to the results, which have left the ruling party in second place.

On the contrary, the party’s publicity machinery is out to impress upon all and sundry that the BJP has done “very well” at these grassroots-level elections.

Falsehood reigns supreme in the BJP’s scheme of things. And in one of its posters, the party has gone to the extent of claiming that “BJP is number one with 918 seats” , even though the state election commission has not declared the official tally. The last count given out by the commission earlier during the day depicted a completely different picture. It showed Samajwadi Party leading with 747 seats, followed by BJP with 666, BSP with 322, AAP with 76 and Congress with 70 seats. Interestingly, independents scored well above all others, with 1,154 seats.

It may be pointed out that Adityanath was so very confident of sweeping the polls and thereby establishing his personal supremacy in the party that he moved heaven and earth to ensure that there was no stumbling block in its way. Last month, when the Allahabad high court ordered a lockdown, which would have stalled the panchayat poll process, the UP government made instant appeal before the apex court which promptly stayed the high court order.

Interestingly, the state government took the stance that a lockdown would adversely affect the “lives and livelihood” of poor people.

Also read: Fake News and Communal Incitement Add Fuel to Post-Poll Fire in West Bengal

However, now after having had his way by accomplishing the panchayat elections, the chief minister is busy extending a statewide lockdown in fits and starts that has led to even greater uncertainty. What began with a weekend lockdown has already become a 10-day lockdown . Yet, there is no talk about the livelihood of the poor.

In fact, the high court had ordered the lockdown in only five badly COVID-affected districts as against the state government’s own statewide lockdown now.

And what was worse that the state government has no qualms about adopting double standards. While the lockdown is complete, and everything is shut, Adityanath did not hesitate to organise an inaugural function for the launch of an additional 100 COVID-19 beds in the state’s Cancer Hospital, created during the Samajwadi Party regime. A well-equipped 500-bed COVID-19 facility put up in record time by DRDO at the behest of defence minister Rajnath Singh was also simultaneously thrown open to the public .

Not only was the venue colourfully decorated with balloons  but the event included a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, compelling many to ask if all the celebration was appropriate at a time when the COVID-19 death count was only going up and helplessness was writ large on the face of all and sundry.