Although BJP won 14 of the 16 mayor seats in UP, seemingly decimating other parties especially the Congress, the urban local body elections seemed more of a formality for all other parties who never campaigned seriously for their mayoral and councilor candidates. The only thing they did was to hand out their party symbols while the candidates were lift to fend for themselves. In Ghaziabad, BJP’s Asha Sharma won by an impressive margin of 50% votes in her favour, that was the best voting percentage in UP for any mayor candidate.
In contrast the BJP had two distinct advantages. One—the ruling party one made it lot more easier for it to convince the electorate to vote in its favour; and the low voter turnout of just 53% proves that people wanted status quo. The second was that UP’s versatile CM, Yogi Adityanath made it sure that adequate campaigning for all mayoral candidates was done, in every district of the state that pulled off this massive win.
Considering these factors it was predictable that these elections would go the BJP way, however, what was not predictable was the revival of otherwise doomed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the state, that won 2 mayoral seats and many councilor seats across the state, making even their own think-tank wonder. This was, as unlike Yogi, the senior leadership including Mayawati never campaigned for the BSP candidates, anywhere in UP, apart from handing out the party symbols. even the AIMIM won from Dasna, that could prove a challenge for Muslim backed parties like SP and Congress.
However, for now, the BJP has the ball in its court and the responsibility on its shoulders even greater, as success in these elections means that the party should now completely deliver in its promise of sorting out the civic mess our cities are in, be it garbage, water & sewer problems, streetlights, roads, among others. For the newly elected mayors it would be a challenge to engage themselves fruitfully with the administration of the Nigams that have lagged behind in delivery to the common man.
–Prasoon Pant, Editor