Debating India

UTTAR PRADESH

A morale booster for Rajnath

Wednesday 8 November 2006, by VYAS*Neena

Good news for the party with U.P. Assembly elections scheduled early next year Anti-incumbency factor worked in favour of the BJP

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national presidential poll to be held later this month, the party’s better than expected performance in local body elections in Uttar Pradesh has come as a boost to BJP president Rajnath Singh, who is expected to get re-elected for a full three year tenure.

Of a total of 12 Nagar Nigam polls in U.P. in its 12 biggest towns and cities, the BJP had already bagged 7 by Tuesday evening and was expecting the eighth, Lucknow, where it was leading. "This is the first positive upward trend for the BJP in any poll in U.P. since the last six years," party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. He suggested that this was good news for the party with U.P. Assembly elections scheduled early next year. It would certainly bring life into the party machinery.

The electorate in Nagar Nigam polls is about 70 per cent urban, and the results, therefore, do not indicate what may happen in the Assembly elections. It is also a fact that the Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had announced that her party would not contest these elections. It was therefore natural that the benefit of anti-incumbency against the ruling Samajwadi Party went to the BJP and the Congress as well, party leaders conceded.

The Congress won three of the 12 Nagar Nigams as against a single win in the 2000 elections. The BJP held 6 of 11 Nagar Nigam elections in 2000, but that was when it was still a force in U.P. and ruled at the Centre.

Among the factors that worked in favour of the BJP were anti-incumbency against the SP, with deteriorating law and order, the most prominent factor. Party leaders give equal credit to strengthening of the BJP’s party organisation at the grassroots level and giving of tickets to party workers rather than "fancy personalities."

RSS pracharaks

For the last six months as many as 6 `pracharaks’ of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh working in other State units of the BJP were shifted to U.P. to prepare for the Assembly elections. Door-to-door campaigning, discipline and encouraging the party cadre helped in these elections too, senior party leaders said.

After the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Baithak in Varanasi in mid-October, two senior `pracharks’ from U.P. were sent to work in the BJP, and two from other States. "Ram Lalji, who was the RSS `pracharak’ for the entire western U.P. zone and Rakesh Kumar, the RSS `pracharak’ for the Braj region comprising Agra and Mathura, were among the senior most RSS men ever sent to work for the BJP," a party leader said. Their presence had ensured total dedication of the whole of the RSS towards success in the elections.

Another major factor was Mr. Rajnath Singh, who had toured U.P. extensively and campaigned effectively.

The only other central leader to go to U.P. for local body polls was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who limited his campaign to Lucknow.

See online : The Hindu

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