The Uttar Pradesh urban local body polls is likely to see the BJP coming out with its election manifesto, which may be similar in nature to its Lok Sankalp Patra, which the saffron party had brought out before assembly polls. Uttar Pradesh will witness three-phase civic polls from November 22, making it the first electoral examination for the ruling BJP, which stormed to power in the assembly elections earlier this year with a massive mandate. “The party is planning to come up with an election manifesto for urban local body elections. The main aim is to ensure overall improvement of municipal corporations and other urban local bodies in the state. Through the manifesto, the endeavour of the party will be to establish a direct connect with the public and find alternatives to their problems,” UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said. “The focus of the manifesto will be a pledge to simplify the complex tax structure, while also simultaneously increasing the municipal tax ambit and bring more and more people under the tax net. At the same time, focus will be laid on strengthen urban public transportation and improve drinking water,” he said. Exuding confidence that the party will make a clean sweep in urban local body polls, Tripathi said, “We aim to win all 16 municipal corporations this time. It will be a hat-trick for us after the massive wins in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 assembly polls.”
As per the election schedule, 24 districts will go to polls on November 22, while 25 districts 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. The civic polls would indicate whether the 45-year-old priest-turned-politician has been able to maintain BJP’s popularity wave which saw the saffron party storm to power in the state earlier this year. Though, the BJP has traditionally been strong in the urban constituencies, the acid test for Adityanath would be to match the performance of the assembly elections.
In 2012, the BJP had swept the mayoral polls, winning 10 of the 12 mayor posts. Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma is now a deputy chief minister of UP. The outcome will indicate the mood of the voters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, say political observers. “The results will also present an opportunity to the party (BJP) for course correction in their policies and governance,” said political observer and academician Manjula Upadhyay.