Lucknow, Nov 13: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will kick off the campaign for civic body elections from the temple town of Ayodhya tomorrow. As many as 16 municipal corporations will go to polls in Uttar Pradesh from November 22. The election results of all 16 municipal corporations will be declared on December 1. The civic body results would indicate whether the Yogi Adityanath has been able to ensure that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to maintain its popularity level after its landslide victory in the state.
In 2012 when Samajwadi Party was in power in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP swept civic body elections winning 10 of 12 mayoral posts in municipal corporations, while the Congress could not open its account. BJP candidates won mayoral elections in Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Agra, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Aligarh, Jhansi and Varanasi. Samajwadi Party-backed nominee I S Tomar and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party-supported candidate won in Bareilly and Allahabad.
This year, Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporations, constituted by Yogi Adityanath government, will go to polls for the first time. The Ayodhya Municipal Corporation will cover the twin cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya, while Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation will look after the civic needs in the two pilgrim towns. CM Yogi Adityanath on Sunday expressed happiness that Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan municipal corporations were going to polls for the first time.
As many as 652 urban local bodies across Uttar Pradesh are going to polls, the highest number so far. The civic polls are being seen as the first major challenge for the BJP after coming power in the state this year. The outcome would also reveal the mood of the voters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP wants to continue its spectacular performance in the state for ensuring victory in the next general elections. The BJP had bagged 72 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 polls. The BJP’s victory in these polls would be seen as a stamp of approval for the Adityanath government.
In its ‘Sankalp Patra’ or election manifesto, the BJP has promised free WiFi at prominent public places and “pink toilets” for women. CM Yogi Adityanath focussed on the government’s work in the area of electrification, basic public amenities, and public transport in the state, and announced the upcoming plans.
The Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which forged an alliance in the run-up to the 2017 UP Assembly polls, have decided to contest these elections separately. The BSP is also fighting the polls sans an alliance. The Aam Aadmi Party is also contesting civic polls for the first time in the state. The BJP will have an edge as the non-BJP votes are likely to get split.