The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a resounding victory in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls, bagging 14 of the 16 mayoral seats on Friday. Significantly, the latest results also seem to be a vindication of Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government’s policies in the politically-crucial state. The civic polls were considered as a litmus test for CM Adityanath since it was his first electoral test after he became the chief minister in March.
Among the prestigious mayoral seats in which the BJP emerged victorious include Ayodhya, Amethi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Gorakhpur.
On the other hand, the Opposition Congress continued to suffer electoral debacles, faring poorly even in its bastion of Amethi. According to reports, it will be a massive victory for BJP in Amethi, a Congress stronghold. BSP had some reason to cheer as its candidate wrested power from BJP in Aligarh mayoral seat. The BSP also won in Meerut.
In Ayodhya, BJP candidate Rishikesh Upadhyay secured 44,642 votes, defeating nearest rival Samajwadi Party’s Gulshan Bindu, a transgender, by 3,601 votes.
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In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, BJP’s Mridula Jaiswal claimed a comfortable victory over her nearest opponent, Shalini of the Congress. Jaiswal thumped Shalini by a comfortable margin of 78,843 votes.
In Lucknow, BJP’s Sanyukta Bhatia became the first woman mayor of the state capital as she defeated nearest rival, Samajwadi Party’s Meera Vardhan, by a huge margin of 1,31,356 votes.
While BJP candidate Sitaram Jaiswal defeated Rahul Gupta of SP by 75,823 votes in Gorakhpur, the home turf of Chief Minister Adityanath, BJP’s Vinod Agarwal edged past Congress’ Rizvan Qureshi by a margin of 22,635 in western UP’s Moradabad.
In Saharanpur, 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 Congress by 22,108 votes.
After assuming office in March, the Yogi Adityanath-led government had constituted two municipal corporations of Ayodhya and Vrindavan-Mathura.
BJP also won the Jhansi seat and became a big disappointment for the Congress, which fielded former Union minister Pradip Jain Aditya, who finished third. Brijendra Kumar Vyas of BSP finished second by a margin of 16,373 votes. The saffron party also emerged victorious 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 overcame Iqbal Singh Tomar of the SP by 12,784 votes. In Meerut, BSP’s Sunita Verma defeated Kanta Kardam (BJP) by 29,582 votes.
However, the BJP couldn’t replicate the same success story in Aligarh, where BSP’s Mohammad Furqan wrested the saffron stronghold defeating Rajiv Agarwal by a margin of 11,990 votes.
Describing the results as a “historic win”, CM Yogi Adityanath attributed the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and BJP chief Amit Shah’s guidance. He also remarked that the BJP will now look forward to achieving the goal of hundred per cent success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated that the results reaffirmed people’s support for the GST which has made doing business “easier” for traders.
Reflecting on the results, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said the people of the state had reposed 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, while dismissing charges of 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.
The polling for civic elections was held 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.
With PTI inputs