The BJP swept the Uttar Pradesh civic polls today pocketing 14 of the 16 mayoral seats as Yogi Adityanath emerged on top in his first major electoral test after taking over as chief minister in March.
Mayawati-led BSP, meanwhile, sprang a surprise as it thwarted the challenge from BJP candidates to win the mayoral posts in western UP's Aligarh and Meerut towns.
Lucknow, which elected BJP's Sanyukta Bhatia as its first woman mayor, was among the prestigious seats including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, temple town Ayodhya and Adityanath's home turf Gorakhpur, that the BJP won.
BJP chief Amit Shah said that it was clear that the people had embraced the economic reforms and rejected politics of caste, appeasement and dynasty.
The results are all the more a boost to the saffron party as they come days before the high-stakes Gujarat Assembly polls.
Among BJP's thumping victories was in Kanpur where, Pramila Pandey defeated Bandana Misra of the Congress by a margin of 1,05,134 votes. In Ghaziabad, BJP's Asha Sharma trounced Dolly Sharma of the Congress by 1,63,675 votes.
It was BJP all the way in Allahabad and Agra also. Abhilasha Gupta retained the Allahabad mayoral post defeating Vinod Chand Dubey of the Samajwadi Party by 63,384 votes. In Agra, Navin Kumar Jain defeated Digambar Singh of the BSP by 74,322 votes.
In Ayodhya, BJP's Rishikesh Upadhyay secured 44,642 votes and defeated his nearest rival SP candidate Gulshan Bindu, a transgender by 3,601 votes.
Prime Minister Modi's constituency Varanasi saw BJP candidate Mridula Jaiswal defeating nearest rival Shalini (Cong) by an impressive 78,843 votes. In Gorakhpur, BJP candidate Sitaram Jaiswal defeated Rahul Gupta of Samajwadi Party by 75,823 votes.
BJP's Mukesh won the Mathura-Vrindavan seat besting Mohan Singh of Congress by 22,108 votes. The Adityanath government, soon after assuming office, had constituted two municipal corporations : Ayodhya and Vrindavan-Mathura.
In Firozabad, BJP candidate Nutan Rathore emerged victorious over Masroor Fatima of the All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) by a margin of 42,396 votes. In Bareilly, Umesh Gautam of BJP trounced Iqbal Singh Tomar of SP by 12,784 votes.
In Aligarh, however, BSP's Mohammad Furqan wrested the saffron stronghold defeating BJP nominee Rajiv Agarwal by a margin of 11,990 votes in a virtual direct contest.
Adityanath who went on a whirl wind tour of the state to ensure the victory of his party candidates, described it as a "historic win". He credited the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and Shah's guidance.
Adityanath also pointed out that the Congress has been wiped out in its pocket-borough of Amethi.
The Congress lost in Jais and Gauriganj where Nagar Palika polls were held. In Amethi and Musafirkhana, where Nagar Panchayat polls were held, the party had not fielded candidates.
From Gauriganj, SP's Rajpati Devi won by defeating BSP nominee Tara Devi by 1,395 votes. The Musafirkhana seat was won by independent Brijesh Agrihari while the Amethi seat was won by BJP candidate Chandra Devi.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said the people had shown full faith in the BJP.
"The SP, the BSP and the Congress contested the polls as each other's relatives. (SP chief) Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi, who were together during assembly polls as 'UP ke ladke' have become like the punctured tyre and tube of a cycle," Sharma said taking a jibe.
He rejected opposition's charges of EVM tampering.
SP leader and MLC Rajpal Kashyap alleged it was "disheartening" that the BJP gained on places where EVMs were used. The SP is closely analysing the results, he said.
The SP, which previously ruled the state, failed to win a single mayoral seat.
The counting of the ballots polled in three phases on November 22, 26 and 29 was held under tight security cover and CCTV surveillance at 334 centres in district and tehsil headquarters, the state election commission said.
Polling was held for 16 nagar nigams, 198 nagar palika parishads and 438 nagar panchayats with an average turnout of all the three phases estimated at 52.5 per cent of the 3.32 crore voters.
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