BJP members celebrate after victory in Uttar Pradesh civic body elections
BJP members rode bikes through Rahul Gandhi's parliamentary constituency Amethi on Friday afternoon in a show of strength to celebrate their party's big win in urban civic body elections in Uttar Pradesh. In Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took a swipe at Mr Gandhi while pointing out that his party, the Congress "has been wiped out in Amethi."
All Congress candidates are set to lose in nagar panchayat elections in Amethi. The party did field a candidate from Amethi town, which has been won by the BJP, but its candidate in Jais was at a poor fourth position after several rounds of counting, with the BJP's Mahesh Sonkar leading. In Musafirkhana, an Independent Brajesh Agrahari was leading, while in Gauriganj the Samajwadi Party's candidate Rajpati Devi was ahead.
"Those dreaming of winning Gujarat have been wiped out in Amethi," said Chief Minister Adityanath, for whom today's results were seen as a crucial first test after he took over in March this year. Yogi Adityanath delivered, making it a three on three for the BJP after its sweep of the 2014 general elections and this year's assembly elections. The Chief Minister said the victory has set the tone for "100 per cent success in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections."
The BJP's immediate focus however is Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held from next week in two phases. There was massive celebration by the BJP in Gujarat today for its UP win.
Rahul Gandhi has been campaigning aggressively in Gujarat, also strategically tying up with young caste leaders in an attempt to wrest power from the BJP, which has ruled the state for 22 years straight.
A BJP leader in UP said the Congress' drubbing in the Gandhi stronghold of Amethi, a week before Rahul Gandhi is expected to become Congress chief, will definitely be used by his party in its campaign for the Gujarat Assembly elections.
"The point proved by these results is that while we continue to be accepted by the people for our good and development oriented work, the Congress is not even able to save its own fiefdoms, forget their day dream of winning Gujarat," the BJP leader said.
The UP civic elections to 16 municipal corporations, 198 municipal councils and 438 Nagar Panchayats is seen as the first big test for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who took over after the BJP swept assembly elections in March this year.
The BJP is set to win 14 out of the 16 mayoral seats where elections were held in UP, with Mayawati's BSP winning the other two. In municipal council and nagar panchayat elections, the BJP is the party with the most seats, making huge gains compared to the 2012 Lok Sabha elections.