Yogi Adityanath faces tough civic polls test in UP

PTI Lucknow | Updated on January 08, 2018

The upcoming municipal polls in Uttar Pradesh will be a key test for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as they would indicate whether the priest-turned-politician has been able to ensure that the BJP continues to maintain its popularity level.

Earlier this year, the party riding on the crest of a Hindutva wave had secured a three—fourths majority in the state Assemble paving way for the 45-year-old saffron-clad Adityanath to be chosen as the chief minister.

The civic polls, to be held in November-December, is being seen as a major challenge for the Hindutva leader as the outcome would reveal the mood of the voters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, say political observers.

The notification for the local body polls is likely to be issued before the end of this month.

“Voting for local bodies is based on local issues. In the civic polls people cast ballots. The masses will get a chance to register their disapproval of the anti-people BJP government,” Samajwadi Party MLC Rajpal Kashyap said adding that the urban local polls would be the first direct elections with Adityanath at the helm.

The BJP’s victory in these polls would be seen as a stamp of approval for the Adityanath government.

“The results will also present an opportunity to the party for course correction in their policies and governance,” political observer and academic Manjula Upadhyay said.

Urban polls

The urban polls were earlier scheduled during June-July, but were postponed as the electoral rolls and some other processes could not be completed within the stipulated time-frame.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is gearing up to contest these polls.

“We will contest from wherever we feel we have a strong organisational base,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party had not contested the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls and instead diverted all its resources to focus on Punjab.

Pre-poll tie-up

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, which forged an alliance in run up to the 2017 UP state polls, have decided to contest these elections separately.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has said his party will have no alliance in the elections to urban local bodies and would contest them on its ‘bicycle’ symbol.

SP spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said, “The pre-poll electoral tie-up was for 2017 Assembly elections.

This does not mean that it will continue for the urban local bodies’ elections or 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”

Similarly, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad recently said his party would go alone in the urban local polls. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is also fighting the polls without an alliance.

In the event of a split in non-BJP votes, the saffron party will have an edge.

The Samajwadi Party has claimed that it is ready to contest the bypolls.

Akhilesh Yadav told the party’s Agra convention earlier this month that the two key by-elections would give his party a chance to gauge which way the wind was blowing, months after it was routed in the Assembly polls.

Akhilesh Yadav had said if results of the elections were in “our favour, it will give a message not only for the 2019 (Lok Sabha polls), but also for the 2022 (assembly polls)“.

There has been no word from the BSP yet as to whether the party will throw its hat in the ring.

Usually, the Mayawati-led party stays away from by—polls, but with the scenario different this time, nothing could be said right now, party insiders said.

Published on October 22, 2017

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