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The results of the Uttar Pradesh urban local bodies polls would not only impact the incumbent Yogi Adityanath government, but also find an echo in the Gujarat state elections scheduled next month. Since, the results of the UP civic polls would be out on December 1, much before the two phase Gujarat polling on December 9 and 14, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not taking these polls lightly. This explains why Adityanath is leading the party’s poll campaign from the front and is scheduled to address almost three dozen rallies across the state to reenergise the party cadres and consolidate the vote bank. Adityanath would be supported by a battery of party’s star campaigners, including state cabinet ministers and even union ministers hailing from UP. There are also talks of the minister in charges of respective districts losing their ministerial berths in case poll results are not satisfactory or as per expectations. Although BJP has traditionally been strong in the state urban civic constituencies even during the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) regimes, it is not taking any chances. Political analyst Hemant Tiwari said BJP was not taking any risk in the UP civil polls not only in the context of the Gujarat poll, but considering the fact that it would further shape the public perception in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. “When an adverse Madhya Pradesh assembly bypoll result recently can trigger debates among the public and across media platform, then UP civic polls have a much broader canvas. Even when BJP was in opposition in the state, it controlled about 85 percent seats in the civic bodies,” he said. Besides, this is the first time that Adityanath is leading the charge of the party’s election campaign as the head of government. After becoming the UP CM, Adityanath has consistently grown in stature in the party and had recently campaigned for BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, apart from visiting Kerala and some other BJP ruled states. Meanwhile, Adityanath on Tuesday kicked off his UP civic poll campaign from the temple town of Ayodhya with a public meeting.
Later in the day, he is scheduled to visit Gonda and Bahraich districts as well.The three-phase UP civic polls are slated on November 22 (24 districts), November 26 (25 districts) and November 29 (26 districts). An estimated 33.2 million voters would be eligible to cast their votes for 16 municipal corporations, 198 municipal councils and 438 nagar panchayats, which total 652 urban local bodies. The 16 municipal corporations include two newly constituted Ayodhya-Faizabad Nagar Nigam and Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam. In 2012, BJP had swept these civic polls, winning 10 of then existing 12 mayoral posts. Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma is now a deputy chief minister of UP. In 2007 urban local bodies polls, the party had won only 8 seats.