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AAP to take political plunge in UP civic polls, BJP to repeat MCD strategy

Atul Chandra | Updated on: 16 September 2017, 20:38 IST
( Ravi Prakash/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This time, the Uttar Pradesh local body elections will see a new entrant the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). AAP, which will turn five later this year, holds power in Delhi and is the main Opposition party in Punjab. It will now test the political waters in India’s most politically crucial state.

The party’ entry comes at a time when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to sideline its sitting corporators and focus on new and young faces to beat anti-incumbency.

Sanjay Singh, AAP’s UP in-charge, said in Lucknow on Friday that the party’s poll document will be released by the end of September. He said that on the lines of Delhi, the party would promise to halve the house tax and open “mohalla clinics”.

Addressing district co-ordinators of Awadh Zone, he said that corruption in local bodies will also be made an issue. The meeting was held to review preparations for the upcoming polls.

The party which did not contest the 2017 Assembly election in UP now plans to make its electoral debut in a big way. Singh said that there will be an in-charge for every 30 houses at the mohalla level, a booth in-charge and ward in-charge.

Although AAP will be testing the waters for the first time and not much is known about its network in the state. On the other hand a BJP leader said that it may use the same strategy that helped it defeat AAP in the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi earlier this year.

If the party decides to follow the MCD poll template then many sitting corporators may be denied tickets.

The situation would be similar to the Assembly elections when turncoats from other parties were given preference in ticket distribution. At the level of local bodies, the move may backfire.

After the 2017 Assembly elections this would be a big test and the Bharatiya Janata Party may field party workers who enjoyed a good image among the people.

Not ready to take the local body polls lightly, the party held a series of meetings at its office in Lucknow earlier this week. The party wants the government to make some people-friendly announcements before the moral code of conduct is enforced.

The party decided to keep a hawk’s eye on the revision of voters list to keep “bogus” voters out. The party workers, it was decided, would be relieved of other responsibilities to keep a check on the voters list.

 The local body elections were now scheduled to be held in November. The elections were earlier expected to be held in June and the poll process was to be over in July. In May the state election commissioner SK Agarwal was reported as saying that the “law and order situation was not conducive” to hold the local body polls. “Only if things move in the right direction, the election process for the urban bodies will be declared by June or 6 or 7,” he was quoted as saying.

The elections to 16 municipal corporations and 198 nagar palika parishads and 439 nagar panchayats would be held in November.  The State Election Commission said that revision of the voter list would be over by October 18, even as a rapid survey was underway to ascertain the population of Other Backward Castes in the state. Once the survey was over, the process of reservation of wards would be done.

The entire exercise, SEC SK Agarwal said, should be over by 22-23 October following which the poll notification would be issued by 24-25 October.      

First published: 16 September 2017, 20:38 IST