LUCKNOW: After a not-so-encouraging performance in the district panchayat members’ polls two months back, the ruling BJP swept the Zila Panchayat chairperson polls in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, winning in 67 of the 75 districts.
Main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) won in just five districts, including Azamgarh (SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s parliamentary constituency), Sant Kabir Nagar, Etawah, Ballia and Etah. Its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal won from Baghpat in West UP. BJP’s success had greater political significance in some key districts, including Rae Bareli (which houses Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Parliamentary seat), SP’s citadels in Mainpuri, Sambhal districts and also Kannauj district, which houses former Parliamentary seats Yadav and wife Dimple Yadav.
In Ayodhya, which has been the nucleus of RSS-BJP’s Hindutva politics, BJP candidate Roli Singh defeated SP candidate by a margin of 20 votes, reportedly aided by cross voting by the SPbacked Zila Panchayat members. The Zila Panchayat chairperson poll in Ayodhya district on Saturday saw skirmishes between ruling BJP and opposition SP supporters, forcing the district police chief to take charge of the security arrangements himself.