Lucknow : The panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh -– touted as a semi-final ahead of the next assembly elections – have jolted both the Congress and the BJP. The Congress suffered a rout, getting wiped out even in the two Lok Sabha constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi represented by party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. For instance, in Rae Bareli, which Sonia Gandhi represents in the Lok Sabha, 21 of the 22 party candidates lost. In the eight seats of Amethi, the party could not win a single seat. Likewise, there is reason for alarm for the BJP as candidates supported by the party have been routed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi. Of the 48 seats in Varanasi, BJP-supported candidates lost in 40, including in Jayapur, the village PM Modi had adopted as Varanasi MP. BJP leader Om Mathur, who is in-charge of the state, is reaching here to take stock of the results. The party has also been washed out in Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Lucknow, with candidates supported by it losing in 20 of the 26 seats.
The Samajwadi Party is the big winner while the Bahujan Samaj Party is back in the game at number 2. Even MIM of Asaduddin Owaisi has reasons to be happy. It opened its account in Azamgarh, the parliamentary constituency of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. With assembly elections less than two years away, the panchayat polls are being seen a pointer to how parties are positioned in the state, which was swept by the BJP in the national elections only last year. The BJP had won 73 of UP’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, with the Congress managing to retain only the Gandhi strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli, while the other six seats were won by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and members of his family. At least eight relatives of Samajwadi Party ministers were defeated in the panchayat elections.