The BJP, which made its much-hyped debut in the district panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, claimed to have won in about 17 per cent of total 3,112 seats, but suffered a major embarrassment in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi where the party-supported candidates could win in only nine of the 48 seats. Candidates supported by the ruling SP got 25 seats.
Also, in Jayapur, the village adopted by the PM under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), BJP-supported Arun Kumar Singh suffered defeat at the hands of BSP’s Ramesh Tiwari alias Guddu Tiwari. A tremendous amount of development work has either been completed or undertaken in the village under the SAGY in the past one year.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai, however, expressed satisfaction over the results —- party claimed that its candidates won 531 seats and stood runners-up with very low margins at around 1000 seats —- and said they will review the performance and remove the shortcomings. Party state in-charge Om Mathur is also reaching Lucknow on three-day tour on Tuesday to review the preparations for the forthcoming gram pradhan elections.
Bajpai trained guns on the ruling Samajwadi Party accusing it of using unfair means, including “fielding candidates indirectly” and resorting to booth capturing, to hijack the election process.
The people, however, have rejected the SP in panchayat elections, he added.
BJP had fielded Arun Kumar Singh from Jayapur’s Arazi Line Vikas Khand despite opposition from local workers on grounds that he had been accused in two cases of murder and Arms Act. Arun is the block convener of Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
According to party leaders, Arun, who polled nearly 3,800 votes, lost to BSP-supported candidate Guddu Tiwari by a margin of nearly 400 votes.
BJP’s Parvati Devi and Amit Sonkar won from Sector 7 and Sector 1, respectively. Also zila panchayat president Sujit Singh, who was being backed by the BJP, has won from Sewapuri seat.
Party’s Varanasi district president Nagendra Raghuvanshi, however, expressed satisfaction claiming that the BJP won on nine seats, six seats up from last local hustings. “Our biggest achievement is that we were able to develop organisation at booth level in rural areas, which is going to play important role in the next Assembly elections,” he said.
The party claimed that BJP-supported candidates scored at least 1,500 votes in every zila panchayat membership seat while the winners scored more than 5,000 votes.
About the reasons for the loss on other seats, Raghuvanshi said that caste equations and contesting the poll without the official symbol of BJP played major role. “Lack of interest among upper caste voters for the elections also led to defeat of BJP-supported candidates,” he added.
Outburst of anger on selection of nominees had begun from Varanasi where a large gathering of workers had staged dharna outside PM’s constituency office and gheroed Bajpai in September. Agitated workers had alleged that party had ignored dedicated workers and distributed tickets by taking money.