Uttar Pradesh authorities had built walls around crematoria, announced that there will be strict action against those who carry home an Oxygen cylinder in a desperate attempt to save a loved one gasping for air. All that has hurt and angered residents of the state that has proudly voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, things may be changing there too, the BJP has faced a massive loss in the Panchayat Polls in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura districts. The voters of the parliamentary constituency represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made sure that the BJP won only 8 out of 40 district panchayat seats.
The results of the Panchayat elections held last month are one of the worst, and probably unexpected setbacks for the Adityanath-led government. As reported by HW News, it is the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) that won a comprehensive victory in Varanasi and Ayodhya, while Mayawati’s BSP and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) topped in Mathura. The three districts are the most crucial and often get top billing on the Bharatiya Janata Party calendar of events. As seats of religious significance these areas are also where the saffron party also gets to showcase its own blend of religion and politics. The Members of Parliament who represent these areas are of the highest profiles, led by the PM himself.
However, these results of the panchayat elections are likely to jolt the state’s BJP government. According to HW News, in the PM’s constituency Varanasi, the BJP lost the panchayat polls and managed to win in only 8 out of 40 seats, it was the SP that won in 14 seats, BSP won in five seats, and Apna Dal (S) won in three seats. Aam Aadmi Party also opened its account in Varanasi district, stated the news report.
An embarrassing defeat was served to the BJP in Mathura, where the BSP won 12 seats and RLD won 9 seats, BJP managed to win only 8 seats, SP won 1 and independents won 3. In Ayodhya as well, the most crucial district for the BJP, it was the Samajwadi Party that had a huge win with 24 out of 40 seats, the saffron party won a mere 6 seats. This dismal performance is expected to put BJP on an overdrive to repair the damages as the state Assembly elections are eight months later.
However, the electorate is unlikely to forget the way the crisis arising out of the Covid-19 second has been handled in Uttar Pradesh. Several victorious candidates of the Panchayat elections succumbed to Covid-19 even before they could hear about their success, stated news reports. They died after showing coronavirus symptoms prior to the result declaration on May 2, 2021. Meanwhile, the State Election Commission (SEC) decided to follow rules and plan a by-election at all places where winners died. Other than candidates, the recent elections have also claimed the lives of at least 706 primary teachers who were on election duty.
Speaking to SabrangIndia, Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association (UPPTA) General Secretary Sanjay Singh said the SEC should not hold any further elections until the healthcare situation improves. “After the Supreme Court hearing, they said they will take curfew-like precautions. They didn’t. Anyone who sees Sunday’s photos can understand that much. Teachers who were diagnosed as sick were sent home. We will continue to boycott these elections if the government does not listen to our concerns,” he said.
After announcing the death of over 700 primary teachers compelled to work on panchayat election duty, the Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association had voiced their concern about 300 more teachers, who are in critical condition since April 29, 2021. They had even called for a boycott of all election related duties during previous meetings in light of the increasing death toll.
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