Even as BSP supremo Mayawati advocated the use of ballot paper in future elections instead of EVMs, data released by the State Election Commission based on the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh civic polls showed that the BSP fared poorly where paper ballots were used. According to the civic poll results, BSP candidates contested on all 16 mayoral seats and won two – Aligarh and Meerut. Its candidates forfeited deposits in 11 seats. In the mayoral polls, the voting was done through EVMs and 68.7 per cent of BSP candidates lost their deposits. This can be termed better compared to the BSP’s performance in Nagar Palika Parishad and Nagar Panchyat polls, where ballots were used, the data showed. The BSP contested in 186 Nagar Palika Parishad seats, in which 131 (70.43 per cent) of its candidates had to forfeit their deposits. Similarly, in the Nagar Panchyat Chairman polls, the BSP contested in 357 seats in which 268 (75 per cent) of its candidates lost their deposits.
A day after the civic polls results were released, Mayawati had challenged the BJP that the saffron party would lose the general elections due in 2019 if ballot papers were used instead of EVMs. “If the BJP claims that it enjoys the mandate of the people and the entire country is with them, then they should set aside the EVMs and hold the elections through ballot paper. And I can say with full confidence that if the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are held by ballot paper, (the BJP) will not come to power,” she said. Mayawati alleged that the government machinery was “misused” in the urban local body polls. “Otherwise, more of our candidates would have become mayors in the state… and we would have won more seats,” she said.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, making light of Mayawati’s charges, said she should ask her mayors to resign and contest those two seats again in ballot-based elections. The Samajwadi Party too has blamed EVMs for its poor performance. As per the election results, SP candidates forfeited their deposit in 10 out of 16 seats. The SP, however, fared better than the BSP in the seats where ballot papers were used. In the Nagar Palika Parishad polls, of the 190 candidates fielded by the SP, 83 (43.68 per cent) lost their deposit and in Nagar Panchyat Chairman polls, 207 SP candidates (54.47 per cent) lost their deposit in the 380 seats the party contested in.