For the first time, the local elections are being contested on national issues rather than any of the local problems like sewage, cleanliness, drinking water, roads and housing.
Uttar Pradesh, one of the country’s biggest states, is holding local body elections starting today. For the first time, the local elections are being contested on national issues rather than any of the local problems like sewage, cleanliness, drinking water, roads and housing. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has taken the role of BJP’s chief campaigner in the civic polls. The municipal polls in the states will be a key test for Adityanath as they would indicate whether the priest-turned-politician has been able maintain BJP’s popularity level at a high point achieved during the assembly poll. What is a big surprise, and again points to the importance of UP, is the fact that the rival parties have turned this poll, which is usually not at all high profile, into a contest that has been graced by the presence of top politicians from both sides.
In the UP civic polls, around 30 million voters would be eligible to exercise their franchise. The elections will be contested for 650 posts, including 438 municipal boards, 202 town areas, and 16 corporations, also comprising two newly constituted Ayodhya Nagar Nigam and Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam.
All major parties including BJP, Congress, BSP, SP are contesting the 16 mayoral seats. The heavyweight state and national level leaders have also campaigned for the elections. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself will be addressing 35 rallies. Other leaders like Union home minister Rajnath Singh, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and health minister Siddharth Nath Singh are also campaigning for the polls.
Though Akhilesh and Mayawati are not in the field to campaign but they have also pressed in their party leaders. 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)”.
However, like the BJP, the Congress party has also launched their national leader to take the command of campaigning for the local body polls. Congress state president Raj Babbar is holding road shows across the state. Other star campaigners from the party include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Singh Hooda, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat and others.
Meanwhile, as polling began today, technical glitches have been reported in EVMs of three booths at Mani Ram Bagia Ward number 104 in Kanpur. CM Yogi Adityanath has also casted his vote in Gorakhpur. In the first phase of Uttar Pradesh local body elections, which has begun today, five municipal corporations including Ayodhya and Gorakhpur has gone into vote, along with 71 municipal boards and 154 nagar panchayats. In 2012, the BJP had won 10 out of the 12 mayoral seats even when it was not in power in the state or in Centre.