Rumblings in UP after Mayawati decides against contesting in District Panchayat polls
Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party had earlier swept District Panchayat polls but lost the subsequent Assembly polls. This time, with elections scheduled for Saturday, all eyes are on BJP
After the drubbing BJP received in the Village or Gram Panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, the party is leaving nothing to chance in the District Panchayat elections, having already won eleven seats unopposed. The Samajwadi Party has complained that BJP supporters did not allow its candidates to file their nomination papers. The prospects of BJP in the District panchayat is also said to have brightened after Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati declared that her party would not contest the district Panchayat elections. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has sacked party presidents in those districts where SP candidates failed to file their nomination.
The opposition alleged that ruling party used government machinery to ensure victory of BJP candidates in this election.
This practice is not new. When Akhilesh Yadav was in power then Samajwadi Party had won 36 seats unopposed and this included the prestigious seat of Varanasi. But the SP lost the assembly elections held a year later despite forging an alliance with the Congress. In 2010 Mayawati’s BSP had won the majority of the seats in District Panchayat elections but lost the assembly elections held in 2012.
“In UP, winning the district panchayat election depends on buying and selling and misuse of the government machinery. BJP is using the same tactics that SP used earlier. This is the reason why we had to part ways with the Samajwadi Party government in 1995. Now the BJP is doing the same, which will result in weakening the roots of democracy," the BSP chief Mayawati said in a statement on Monday.
But the way Akhilesh Yadav has sacked 11 district presidents has raised a question whether it was prudent to take this harsh action when election in UP is just six months away.
SP leaders call it an “impulsive decision” which would be detrimental for the interest of the party ahead of the next Assembly elections. There is a belief in the party that failure of SP candidates to file papers or rejection of their nomination papers shows flaw in their election strategy. ““These elections were left to be managed by the district presidents and many of them had little experience in managing and contesting polls,” said a SP lawmaker.
The questions are also being raised over the efficacy of coordination committees constituted in each district comprising former and sitting MPs and MLAs for assisting the district president during elections. “If presidents are sacked, why action is not being taken against members of the co-odination committees,” he asked.
Though the SP leaders are unwilling to speak on record, they concede that the misuse of official machinery in district panchayat elections had become an established tradition in UP during the last 25 years and the party leadership should have factored in this element in its preparation for contesting the elections of chairpersons of district panchayats.
Elections for electing district panchayat chairpersons would be held on July 3.