Lucknow: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may repeat its strategy of denying tickets to sitting councillors, as it did in Delhi municipal corporation polls, in Uttar Pradesh for the civic body elections in the state.
Buoyed by the BJP’s victory in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, where it won a third consecutive term, insiders say the party may partially adopt the same strategy in the face of a potential anti-incumbency factor, which may play spoilsport in UP. The elections to the urban local bodies are due in a couple of months, with the results expected by 15 July, according to a state election commission official.
According to Ashwini Upadhyay, the Delhi unit spokesperson of the BJP, in the MCD elections out of 185 corporators, as many as 181 are first timers. “The party gave tickets to 262 first timers in the MCD polls out of the 270 seats it contested," Upadhyay said. He said the average age of the newly-elected BJP corporator in Delhi is 39, while the youngest being only 25.
Notably, during the BJP’s national executive in Odisha recently, party national president Amit Shah had asserted that its “golden era" would arrive when it rules across the country, from panchayats to Parliament. A senior UP BJP leader associated with the preparation of the civic elections in the state said the party has started its preparations for the civic polls.
“It will give priority to youngsters and may adopt the MCD poll strategy to not only beat the anti-incumbency factor, but also better its tally," the leader said. He went on to say that if the party decides to follow the MCD poll strategy, then many sitting corporators who had been winning in the past few elections may not get tickets this time.
Another party leader felt that the “formula" of winning- not-getting proved to be successful to great extent in Delhi, and it should be implemented in UP. “Since UP is bigger than Delhi in terms of seats, the Delhi formula will be implemented along with giving tickets to party workers, who enjoy good rapport in their respective wards," the leader said.
The BJP emerged as the clear winner in the MCD elections with 184 seats in its kitty, bettering its existing strength of 138. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came a distant second with 46 seats in all the three Delhi municipal corporations, while the Congress could just manage to win 30 seats and others got 10 seats.
The criteria adopted by the BJP in the MCD elections was that ticket was not given to the wife, children or any of party functionary’s family member. Secondly, party office-bearers were given the ticket on the condition that will have to forgo their organisational post, Upadhyay said. “The BJP also coined its election slogan ‘Naye Chehare, Nayee Urjaa, Nayee Udaan, Dilli maange kamal nishaan’ (new faces, new energy, new flight, Delhi wants lotus symbol) to highlight the theme pertaining to new faces," he said.
In the 2012 civic polls held in UP, elections for post of mayor were held in 12 cities (municipal corporation). The BJP registered wins at 10 places, while two independents won in Allahabad and Bareilly. This year, there are 14 cities, where mayoral elections will be held. According to the State Election Commission of UP (which conducts the urban local bodies’ polls), of the total 980 corporators in the state spread across 12 municipal corporations, the BJP could win 304 wards, while independents dominated 558 wards.
When contacted, UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla said, urban local bodies elections are an important issue for the party and it would take all necessary steps to ensure victory of its candidates. “At the same time, we will try to better our previous tallies," he said. Dilip Srivastava, a former BJP corporator said the results of the MCD elections would certainly act as a morale booster for the partymen. “It was the BJP corporators who worked for the party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and during 2017 UP assembly polls. We are confident that the party will sweep the urban local bodies elections in UP," he said.