LUCKNOW: As counting for UP panchayat elections picks pace, there were dramatic swings in fortunes of candidates backed by BJP and SP in the panchayat elections, touted as a bellwether of the high-stakes assembly elections next year.
According to the state election commission, as many as 181 zila panchayat members, 38,317 gram pradhans and 2,32,612 gram panchayat members were declared elected by Monday evening. Counting was on at 826 block headquarters of 75 districts at the time of filing the report.
The spotlight, however, was on zila panchayat wards, where political parties had thrown their weight behind candidates. Of 3,050 zila panchayat wards, results and trends of 2,300 wards show that while BJP-backed candidates were leading or won in around 700 seats, SP-supported candidates had bagged or were leading in 690 wards. The Mayawati-led BSP was at a distant third position with its 270 zila panchayat wards in its kitty.
The highlights of trends/results included the defeat of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s niece, Sandhya Yadav, who had switched over to BJP, in Mainpuri. Sandhya, sister of former SP MP Dharmendra Yadav, lost to SP-backed Pramod Yadav in ward number 18 of the district. The loss, experts said, was significant for BJP which sought to make deeper rural inroads in the pocket borough of Yadav chieftains. Sandhya, former chairman of Mainpuri zila panchayat, had faced an open rebellion after some SP members had moved a no-confidence motion against her. Ever since she had been hobnobbing with BJP.
The BJP-backed candidate from Fatehpur Chaurasi-3 ward in Unnao, Shakun Singh, however, managed to post a win. BJP had earlier fielded Sangeeta Sengar, wife of rape convict and former BJP MLA Kuldeep Senger, from this seat. The party later cancelled Sangeeta’s ticket, following dissent within in party ranks. The Sengar family also did not contest from Makhi gram sabha as well.
Another key highlight of Tuesday counting process was the defeat of 2015 Miss India runner-up, Deeksha Singh, who had taken a plunge in panchayat polls and was a contestant from ward-26 under Buxa block in the Jaunpur district. BJP-backed Nagina Singh emerged winner from the ward, even as Diksha finished a distant fifth.
At the same time, Independent candidates were leading in most zila panchayat wards in Gorakhpur, home turf of CM Yogi Adityanath. According to reports, of 68 zila panchayat wards, Independent candidates were leading on 25, while BJP-backed candidates had gained leads on 20 wards, while SP candidates were front-runners in 13 wards.