Why BJP swept local body elections in UP

By TCN Special Correspondent,

Lucknow: The winning of mayoral seats in UP is taken as a revival of the saffron brigade in India’s largest state. BJP won 10 out of the 12 mayoral seats in the recent civic body elections.

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BJP’s state president, Luxmi Kant Bajpayee went ahead and stated that people have rectified their mistake which they committed in the assembly elections. Saffron surge is now the name given to the BJP’s victory.

However, a close look at the results reveals another story. There are many reasons for BJP’s victory in local bodies elections.

The first and foremost being that ruling Samajwadi Party and BSP candidates did not contest the election officially. At odd places there were candidates supported by them but it failed to make a mark.

Another more convincing reason is that division took place in Muslim votes which is a story of almost every election.

At Lucknow, BJP’s Dinesh Sharma was re-elected as Mayor. Only Muslim candidate here was from Peace Party who got 1.15 lakh votes but finished third. Congress candidate Neerja Bora was on second place by trailing to BJP by 1.71 lakh votes. Here Muslims voted openly for the BJP candidate. At various Muslim dominated booths, BJP got good votes. Congress was nowhere in the scene at many Muslim booths. Thus, the Muslim votes got divided between Peace Party and BJP and benefiting the BJP.

There were half a dozen Muslim candidates in Aligarh. The seat was eventually won by Shakuntala Bharti of BJP who got 41834 votes. BSP supported Razia Khan was second with 69948 votes while Congress candidate Aisha Khan and SP supported Gudia Begam got nearly 12000 votes each. The division of Muslim votes is thus clearly visible.

Similarly in Moradabad which was held by SP in 2006, division of Muslim votes took place. BJP’s Veena won the election by getting nearly 99000 votes while Peace Partt got 29000 votes, Congress candidate Mohd Sadiq got 26000 votes while SP supported Kesar Ali got 14500 votes.

Another convincing reason is that after SP won the assembly elections and formed the government, it had gone on a pro-Muslim approach (only in comments and paper). Thus it gave the indication that it is vouching only for Muslim which is not the case. BJP cashed it by propagating that only Muslims are benefiting from the SP government. It helped polarise the non Muslim voters.

One more factor being that Mayor elections are mostly confined to urban areas which are BJP’s stronghold. Thus not much should be read in these results. Remember in 2006 also BJP had won eight Mayor seats.

Whatever be the reason, it is clear indication that votes are now polarised in Hindi belt and religion plays an important role in elections of secular India.