From prominent Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Hemraj Verma to former BSP unit chief KK Sachaan, more than 60 leaders of different opposition parties have joined the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, giving a boost to the ruling party in the urban local body elections in the state.

The BJP hopes that the influx of these leaders will boost its electoral performance especially in Nagar Panchayat and Nagar Palikas where the party faced challenges from opposition parties and independents in the previous elections.

The biggest scoop the BJP achieved was on April 23 when the Socialist Party’s candidate for Shahjahanpur’s mayoral election, Archana Verma, joined the party on the eve of the last day to file nominations for the first phase of the civic elections, leaving the Socialist Party scrambling to find a replacement for it.

The position of Mayor of Shah Jahanpur is reserved for the women of the Other Backward Class (OBC). On the same day, another prominent SDP leader, Rice Shukla, and two other party leaders joined the BJP in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Prayagraj. Since then, there has been a steady stream of opposition leaders joining the BJP. On April 30, SP leader and former minister Aruna Kori, Lucknow City Congress Committee Chairman Ajay Srivastava, former Assembly Local Unit Chairman Rahul Chaudhary, and District Secretary Rajendra Bharti joined the BJP with their supporters. The BJP claimed that 13 Lucknow-based Congress candidates also joined them that day.

On May 1, Sashan, former head of government unit of BSP party, who hails from Kanpur, SP leader and MLA Narendra Singh Yadav, whose home was Farrukhabad, joined BJP. Yadav’s daughter and the district chief of the Farrukhabad panchayats, Monica, also joined the BJP, causing a setback for the socialist party in the district.

Two days later, SP leader of Bilibet and former minister Hemraj Verma along with SP party unit chief Sandhya Singh Patil and vice president of Mahila Sabha Sheela Singh joined the BJP. Most of these leaders associated with civic polls are believed to be very influential in their regions.

“Leaders of other political parties are joining the BJP as they admire the welfare plans of the BJP governments led by PM Narendra Modi at the Center and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the UP,” said BJP President Bhupendra Singh Chowdhury while welcoming him. Socialist party leaders on Wednesday.

Well before the urban body elections, BJP sources said, they started identifying opposition party leaders who have a lot of personal influence in their districts, and their agitation could help BJP candidates in Nagar Palikas and Nagar Panchayat win more votes. “More opposition leaders who can be recruited have been identified before the second phase of the civil elections ends. Also, some other senior party leaders will join the BJP from October onwards before the year’s Lok Sabha elections,” said the BJP leader. .

“With these agitations, the BJP hopes to improve its performance in Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats. Our party has always done better in Nagar Nigams which are entirely urban areas. But in Nagar Palika and Nagar Panchayats, the dominance of Muslims, Yadav and Dalits has helped the socialist party, the BSP and independents,” said the BJP leader.

In the 2017 civic elections, when the BJP came to power in the state in a landslide, the party won 87 percent of the mayoral posts and 45 percent of the corporate seats in municipal corporations (Nagar nigams), but could win only 35.35 percent. Percent of the seats of the Nagar Palika chiefs and 17.54 percent of the members there, 22.83 percent of the heads of the Nagar Panchayats and 12.22 percent of the members. The BSP and SP, which competed separately, together won 29 percent of the seats of Nagar Panchayat chairpersons and 12.34 percent of the Nagar Panchayat members, which was better than the BJP’s performance.

Similarly, SP and BSP each won 37.38 per cent of Chief Nagar Palika’s seats, which was again better than BJP’s 35.35 per cent. Independent candidates won 22 percent of the presidents’ seats and 64 percent of the members’ seats in Nagar Palikas; 41 per cent of the chairmen’s seats and 71 per cent of the members’ seats are in the Nagar Panchayat.


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