Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has delivered in his first big test, with the BJP now leading in 14 of 16 municipal corporations in Uttar Pradesh, where counting of votes began this morning for crucial urban body elections. Chief Minister Adiytanath conducted a turbo-charged campaign with his party’s performance being watched closely after its massive sweep of the UP assembly polls in March this year. The election for the Mathura municipality will be decided by “lucky draw” after the BJP and Congress candidates got the same number of votes.
- The BJP’s candidates for mayor are leading in state capital Lucknow, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Chief Minister Adityanath’s home town Gorakhpur and 10 other municipalities. Mayawati’s BSP is leading in two.
- Lucknow looks set to get its first woman mayor in the BJP’s Sanyukta Bhatia, who said this morning, “I don’t consider anyone my competitor. I will be number one, no matter who is second or third.”
- In 2012, the BJP had won 10 of 12 municipal corporations. There are four new municipalities this time, Ayodhya, Saharanpur, Firozabad and Mathura, where one of wards saw a tie between the BJP and Congress.
- The BJP is also leading in Ayodhya-Faizabad. Chief Minister Adityanath began his campaign with a rally in Ayodhya, which, along with twin city Faizabad, has just been upgraded to a municipal corporation. The 45-year-old Chief Minister addressed 26 rallies, travelling to all 16 districts where civic elections were held.
- Elections were also held for 198 municipal councils and 428 nagar panchayats or notified area councils. Results for these are expected by Friday evening. Independents backed by the Samajwadi Party and the BSP had won a majority of these in the last elections.
- This time, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, crushed in the assembly elections, contested on their symbols, but in sharp contrast to Yogi Adityanath’s high-powered campaign, neither Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav, nor Mayawati campaigned.
- Yogi Adityanath asked voters to support the BJP just the way they did in the 2014 national election and this year’s assembly election. The party swept both, winning 73 of the state’s 80 parliament seats three years ago and over 300 of 400 seats in the assembly elections.
- The Chief Minister has to both thank his party and prove his worth with a big win. After the BJP’s humongous win in March, party leaders unexpectedly picked the saffron-robed priest-politician over several front-runners for the top post.
- A powerful local leader in eastern UP and the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in his home town Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath served as a BJP lawmaker for 19 years and is leading the party in an election across the state for the first time ever.
- The Samajwadi Party, which lost power in UP to the BJP in March, has accused the ruling party of “misusing government machinery to fix the elections” alleging that it tried to rig electronic voting machines. The BJP has called the allegations baseless.