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Why Panchayat polls in UP do not mean much

Panini Anand | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:13 IST

UP panchayat

  • SP candidates won 60 of UP\'s 75 district panchayat top jobs
  • BSP won 5; BJP 4; rebel SP 2
  • Cong could bag only Rae Bareli

More in the story

  • Will the SP be able to repeat this success in next year\'s Assembly polls?
  • Does these numbers count?
  • How is BJP gearing?

The Uttar Pradesh government and the Samajwadi Party are celebrating the party's performance in the panchayat elections in the state. This comes as a good news for the SP at a time when most political pundits are predicting the downfall of the party in the state.

Also read - Just how much more insignificant can Congress get in UP?

Infighting within the SP has dented the image of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his government. In such a time, the good showing in panchayat elections is reason enough for the SP to celebrate.

Results for 74 of the state's 75 Zila Panchayat Adyakshas (district panchayat presidents) are out. The SP have bagged 60 of those. That's not a small number, suggesting that the party won nearly 80% of the seats.

Bahujan Samaj Party, the main Opposition party in UP, could win five seats, the BJP got 4 and the Congress only one. On other seats, two rebel SP candidates won.

The big surprise was Amethi, where the Congress candidate withdraw her name a day before the process would end. The only opening the party got was in Sonia Gandhi's constituency, Rae Bareli.

So, is it a good beginning to the new year and time to celebrate? Not really.

The SP may have won the top post in most districts, but the fact is that Panchayat poll results has little to do with ground reality. There is no public voting involved and the results have often gone in favour of the ruling parties.

Also, it is driven by money and local-level equations. There can be several contestants from the same party and for the same position. Caste also plays a part.

"Were these elections fought on the basis of party? Does the common man vote? Why is the media bent on drawing hurried conclusions?" asks a senior BSP leader.

"You don't have to wait long. Just a year, and the ground reality will be out there when the Assembly poll results come."

Also read - CBI may come in handy for BJP to trouble Mayawati; and SP won't mind

According to an SP leader: "Every party has people in the districts. They contest and some of them win. If someone from our party is winning, it is indeed a sign of influence and acceptability."

BSP leader Swamy Prasad Maurya told Catch: "We are concentrating on the upcoming Assembly elections. If you want to derive at a conclusion, no one can stop. But the real battle will be next year, which we will win with a clear majority."

According to him, as many as two-third of the tickets for the Assembly elections have been finalised by the party and the possible candidates are already working on campaign plans.

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First published: 9 January 2016, 9:01 IST
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.