Ahmedabad: The results of the Uttar Pradesh local body elections were a repeat of the Gujarat polls in December 2015, when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the cities but faced humiliating defeats in the small towns and rural areas.

While Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been chest-thumping over the BJP’s victory in the contests for 14 of the 16 mayoral posts (mayors are elected directly in the northern state), he and other party leaders have been silent on the overall poor performance of its candidates in the municipal corporations and town panchayats. Also, the 14 wins in the mayoral races is not significant considering that 12 of the BJP’s candidates won the elections that were held under the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) state government.

The ruling party won just 25 percent of the total seats up for grabs in local administrative bodies across Uttar Pradesh.

In the municipal corporations, the BJP won 586 against 701 for the candidates of other parties and independents.

But among the nagar palikas, the BJP won just 100 of the 438 posts of chairperson, and its members won only 663 seats against 4,715 won by representatives of other parties and independent candidates.

And in the municipalities, the ruling party fared as badly, winning 916 seats against 4,295 seats taken by non-BJP and independent nominees.

Noteworthy is the fact that Adityanath actively campaigned for the BJP candidates throughout the state ahead of the polls, while his main rivals, former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, kept away from electioneering for their respective parties, the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The results are similar to those in Gujarat two years ago, when the BJP retained control over all six municipal corporations, while the opposition Congress won as many as 24 of the total 31 district panchayats and 134 of the total 230 taluka panchayats.

Another similarity is the party’s gloating over the victories in the urban seats and the silence over the defeats in the rural belts.

Nachiketa Desai is a senior journalist based in Ahmedabad and tweets at @nachiketadesai. The views expressed are his own.

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