The ruling BJP has begun preparations for the urban local body (ULB) elections likely to be held next month. The elections are seen as a matter of prestige among party workers, as an “adverse” result could affect morale. There are 16 municipal corporations, 198 Nagara Palika Parishad and 439 Nagar Panchayats in UP that will be going to polls. Among them are Ayodhya Nagar Nigam and Mathura-Vridnavan Nagar Nigam, the two new municipal corporations created under the Yogi Adityanath government. In the ULB elections of 2012, BJP had won 10 of the 12 mayoral seats that were up for grabs while they won only 42 chairperson seats in the Nagara Palikas and 36 of the same from Nagar Panchayats.
“BJP and its allies had won 73 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and 325 Assembly seats in March this year. Loss in urban local body polls will send an adverse message against BJP that will look to next prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said a BJP leader.
Varanasi, Lucknow and Jhansi, which are Lok Sabha seats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union ministers Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharti, respectively, are also municipal corporations. BJP had won the Varanasi and Lucknow mayorship in 2012. In preparation for the ULB polls, the party has appointed in-charge for each body.
Each of the 16 municipal corporations will have two senior state-level leaders supervising the preparations. A separate team of three senior leaders will supervise the poll preparations in each district and mahanagar unit.
Party insiders said that the meetings have been already started regarding planning the strategy and setting up the organisation structure upto ward-level. Activities and movement of senior leaders upto ward-level will begin after party’s state executive meet scheduled on October 11 and 12 in Kanpur. Preparations for the local body elections is in the agenda of the state meet.
Process for selection of candidates will be started only after the State Election Commission (SEC) announces the reservation of the constituencies.
SEC has so far announced the reservation of wards so far. Reservation for seats of mayor in municipal corporations and chairperson in nagar panchayats and nagar palika parishad is expected soon. SEC has already held meetings with district administration officials of Meerut and Saharanpur divisions regarding poll preparations and the meeting of Kanpur and Aligarh divisions are scheduled on Monday.
Sources in BJP said that screening of names for selection of candidates for corporators would be done at local body and district or mahanagar unit level. Selection of candidate for mayor and chairperson posts will be decided at the state level. Party has also decided that MPs, MLAs and the ministers could give their recommendations for candidates selection but in the committees of local body unit and district/mahanagar units only.
BJP state spokesperson Chandra Mohan said that responsibilities have been allocated among the party leaders to design the organisational structure for the local body elections and make the ground-level preparations among masses through different programmes of public participation.
Apna Dal (S) and Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) are two allies of BJP in the state government and both the parties are making claims for seats to contest elections. Apna Dal has nine MLA and SBSP has four in UP Assembly and both the parties have one minister each in Yogi Adityanath government. Sources said that both the parties want to field their candidates in those seats at least where local MLA is from their party.
Apna Dal (S) spokesperson Arvind Sharma said that party has started identification of seats, where party has following in public and candidates could win. List of these seats will be discussed when meeting with BJP will be held regarding the polls, he said.