Lucknow/Nagpur: The ruling Samajwadi Party swept the district panchayat chairmen’s poll with a tally of 60 seats out of possible 74 after Thursday’s voting. The party, which had won 36 out of 38 seats, which had been decided without contest, won 24 more after the voting, striking a blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which lost in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi and state chief Laxmi Kant Bajpeyi’s constituency Meerut.
Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi and state chief Laxmi Kant Bajpeyi’s constituency Meerut.
While the only solace for the saffron party was its victory in five seats in western UP out of its total tally of seven, SP’s clean sweep had some blemishes as well as the party-supported candidates lost some prestigious seats like Bijnor and Sitapur to rebels.
In Bijnor, suspended SP MLA Ruchi Veera, ensured the victory of her husband against the official candidate. She had been suspended after she refused to withdraw her husband’s candidature and for supporting him against the officially nominated candidate. In Sitapur also, the party had suspended its MLA for opposing its nominee.
Senior minister Shivpal Yadav, however, shrugged off these minor glitches, claiming that the result was an indicator to the likely trends in the state polls to be held a year later. “The large-scale victory of the Samajwadi party is reiteration of the people of the state that they are with the party and would vote it again in 2017 assembly elections,” he told TOI.
Although more than 50% seats had been decided without contest, there was a fierce battle for the remaining 36. The most interesting contest was in Unnao which ended in a tie. Both the candidates in fray here – Sushmita Singh, sister of cabinet minister Arvind Singh Gope and Jyoti Rawat, wife of SP Rajya Sabha member Jai Prakash Rawat — were claiming allegiance to the ruling party. When the votes polled by them were found to be equal, a draw of lots was resorted to in which Sushmita Singh emerged winner.
In Mathura, BJP’s former minister Laxmi Narain Chaudhary ensured victory of his wife Mamta Chaudhary, who defeated the SP candidate. In Maharajganj also, the BJP candidate won the election with a good margin. In Hathras, it was good news for the principal opposition party BSP as former minister Ramvir Upadhyay worked his way to the victory of his brother.
In rest of the places, it was an easy victory for the ruling party. Political observers, however, point out that these results may not reflect the real picture and zila panchayat chairmen are elected through indirect polls.