The first phase of polling for election to the civic bodies in Uttar Pradesh began on Wednesday. The voting is being held for five municipal corporations, 71 nagar palika parishads and 154 nagar panchayats spread over 24 districts.
The incumbent BJP govt for the first time released a manifesto for the civic body polls and listed out a number of promises for development of cities in UP. The BJP has left no stone unturned for the polls, setting up a war room of more than 50 staff members to monitor the party’s campaign and poll management.
According to BJP insiders, the party is giving a lot of importance to the civic polls keeping in mind the Gujarat assembly polls, scheduled for next month and the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
So let us understand as to why the results of the UP civil polls are of great significance to the BJP govt
#Litmus Test for Yogi Adityanath's governance since assuming power in the state
The Uttar Pradesh civic body polls are the first major elections in India's most populated state after the Assembly elections which were held in March. So political pundits are considering this as the litmus Test for Yogi Adityanath's government. A victory for BJP would mean that the people have restored confidence in the administrative abilities of the Yogi govt since they assumed power seven months back.
If the party wins handsomely in UP’s civic polls, the underlying message passed on in the political landscape would be that the most populated state has restored faith in BJP's governance and Yogi Adityanath's leadership.
2. BJP would like to maintain hegemony over its bastions
The BJP maintained a stranglehold over some of the important mayor seats in the UP's municipal corporations with the party winning most of them in the past even when it was out of power. The BJP has always won the Varanasi, the PM’s Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP has an exemplary track record in the Lucknow mayor’s seat polls, winning it four times in a row. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is the current Lucknow MP, which also was the constituency represented by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
At least five ministers of Adityanath’s cabinet are canvassing in Lucknow where polling is scheduled on November 26. The BJP has also won in Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home town of Gorakhpur several times.
“If the party loses any of these seats– particularly Varanasi—the Opposition will get an opportunity to call it the PM’s and Adityanath’s failure.
The opposition can effectively raise the poll results in the Gujarat elections and also in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It is a must for the BJP to win these seats and hence the CM personally is visiting a maximum number of constituencies,” said a BJP leader.
3. Poll results to have a bearing on the upcoming Gujarat Polls
The civic body elections shall also serve as run-up to the upcoming elections in Gujarat where the BJP would be locked in a tough battle with the Congress.The results of the UP civic polls will be declared on December 1, before polling in Gujarat and BJP leaders are of the opinion that a win or a loss for in UP could influence the Gujarat polls.4. Yogi Adityanath's prestige at stake
The Adityanath government has created Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan as two new municipal corporations and he addressed public meeting in both cities. Sources said that he is also keeping a watch on the BJP’s organizational affairs in view of the polls.
“The prestige of the CM is at stake in the civic polls. The BJP cannot afford to lose any of 10 mayoral seats it had won in 2012 when party was out of power both in the state as well as the Centre,” remarked a BJP leader.
5. A victory in the civic body polls could help BJP push their agenda for building the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya
UP CM Yogi Adityanath commenced his poll campaign from Ayodhya where his entire cabinet had celebrated Diwali on a grand scale in October and projects worth Rs 133 crore were announced for the town of temples. Ayodhya also hogged the limelight for the recent visit of Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravishankar to meet different stakeholders of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque title suit.
So a win in the civic body polls would help the ruling govt sway the public sentiments in their favour and make for a strong case for pushing their agenda to build the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya