Mayawati’s decision to not contest the Zila Panchayat Chief elections has irked parties such as the Congress and Samajwadi Party, which have accused the BSP chief of “helping" the BJP clinch victory in the elections.
In several districts, BSP zila panchayat members are in the position of kingmaker and in such a scenario, BSP’s move has shaken up the political scenario in the state.
In Uttar Pradesh, so far 18 people have won unopposed in the zila panchayat chief polls while the remaining 57 posts will witness polling on July 3. Tuesday is the last date to take back nomination for the same. After the announcement of BSP chief, its zila panchayat members will be free to vote for any party of their choice.
Saharanpur was considered a BSP stronghold where the seat of zila panchayat chief was with the party for the last five years. This time, Samajwadi Party, BSP, Congress and other supporting parties had jointly fielded Joni Kumar ‘Jaiveer’ from Saharanpur. But now, after the announcement of the BSP chief, ‘Jaiveer’ has also announced that he will not contest the polls and will take back his nomination. This has, in a way, confirmed a win for BJP candidate Chaudhary Mangeram.
In Mathura, the BSP has a maximum number of zila panchayat members but after the announcement, they now have the option to vote for other parties. The BSP was in a strong position in Kanpur also, but now both SP and BJP have started to reach out to BSP members. Apart from these, the other places where BSP was in a strong position include Kanpur Dehat, Sambhal, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Ambedkarnagar, Basti and Barabanki.
On Monday, Mayawati said in a press conference: “We have decided not to contest the Zila Panchayat chief polls.” The BSP chief had also directed party workers to strengthen the organisation instead of giving their time and energy in these polls. She had also alleged rigging of polls by the BJP and said this was the main reason behind pulling out of the race.
Reacting to the announcement, UP Congress spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said: “Both the opposition parties BSP and SP have been hand in glove with the BJP. The BSP has given a walkover to the BJP by this announcement, while the SP has portrayed a drama by showing that it is fighting with the BJP. In reality, both the parties have failed to raise the issues of the people and have now compromised the zila panchayat chief elections for their own vested interests. It is only the Congress party which despite having few MLAs in the state has been raising the issues of the people from assembly to road. We don’t succumb to any pressure and we will continue our fight against communal forces.”
On the other hand, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abdul Hafiz Gandhi said, “In last few years, the politics of Mayawati has become predictable. She does what benefits the BJP. Her announcement of not contesting the district board’s chairperson elections is one more attempt to indirectly benefit the BJP.
“These local body elections are important for every political party and hence one fails to understand why she made an announcement at the eleventh hour. People can easily figure out the beneficiary of the last-minute decision. She in a way permitted her elected zila panchayat members to vote for BJP. The marginalised communities, including Dalits, have understood the politics of ‘Behan ji’. She always attacks the opposition parties while remaining soft on ruling BJP. Her statements over the past few years are proof of the fact that she is hand in glove with BJP.”