Ahead of the urban local body polls in UP, the BJP today came up with its Sankalp Patra or election manifesto, wooing voters with the promise of free WiFi in prominent public places and construction of “pink toilets” for women. The Sankalp Patra was launched at the UP BJP headquarters by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, Urban development minister Suresh Khanna and UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey. Speaking on the occasion, Adityanath said, “As many as 652 urban local bodies across the state are going to polls, which is the highest number so far. This also includes 16 municipal corporations, which will also go to polls. Prior to this there were 12 municipal corporations in the state.” “It gives me pleasure to say that municipal corporations of Ayodhya and Mathura-Vrindavan have been constituted by our government. Both these municipal corporation are also going to polls for the first time.”
UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey on this occasion said, “BJP never contests poll to fulfil the lust for power. Rather our aim is to serve the people of the country. “The party is not contesting urban local body polls merely to bag posts of mayors or corporators, but to pledge that better quality of life can be given to people living in urban areas of the state,” he said. The Sankalp Patra comprises 28 sankalp (promises). With a focus on cleanliness, the manifesto promises better drinking water facilities, better street lights, free community toilets, provision of pink toilets for women, grant of Rs 20,000 for construction of personal toilets, provision of adarsh nagar panchayat, e-tendering and provision of kanji house for stray animals.
It also seeks to protect interests of small shopkeepers, promises free water connections in every house, transparent administration, time-bound disposal of public grievances, proper bus service, clean environment, effective implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, beautification of parks, house tax exemptions to freedom fighters and their dependents.
Development of cities as smart cities, proper parking arrangement, provision of auditoriums and exhibition grounds in cities, and awarding the best performing workers are among the other promises. 24 districts will go to polls on November 22, while 25 districts will go to polls on November 26, and 26 districts on November 29. Counting of votes polled for 16 nagar nigams, 198 nagar palika parishads and 438 nagar panchayats will be done on December 1.
More than 3.32 crore voters will be eligible to cast their ballots at 36,269 polling booths and 11,389 polling stations. These polls, being held eight months after the BJP came to power with a landslide victory, will mark the first electoral test for the Yogi Adityanath government. Though, the BJP has traditionally been strong in urban constituencies, the acid test for Adityanath would be to match the performance of assembly elections. In 2012, the BJP had swept mayoral polls, winning 10 of the 12 mayor posts. Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma is now a deputy chief minister of UP.